Any Tricks or Tips for getting around on crutches??

by AudeSapere 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • AudeSapere

    Does anyone have any tricks or tips for getting around on crutches??

    I did a stupid thing Friday afternoon and ended up in the emergency room with a broken ankle and a torn up knee. I'm now on crutches - lucky me...

    I live alone and - since my move - now have a two story house.

    It's not quite as much fun as you might think.

    Does anyone have any tricks or tips for the simple things in life - like bathing and getting dinner to the table while using crutches and keeping all weight off of a leg? Something is torn in my knee (MRI later this week will tell how much damage) and the knee cannot support any weight. (The good news is that the knee doesn't hurt - it doesn't function, but it doesn't hurt. The ankle hurts all the time.)

    So, how to get my hair washed? How to get dinner to the table?? How to pick up trash, etc? How do you get the laundry to the washing machine without making 30 trips from the bedroom?

    I'm looking for any and all tips, tricks, suggestions, and - of course - sympathies.


    PS: If you happen to be driving by, could I maybe hitch a ride to the market?? It's my right leg, which means I can't drive either...

  • misspeaches

    oh Aude! you poor thing... I am so sorry to hear about it.

    I've never used crutches or broken anything so I have no advice. I'm helpful hey!!! LOL

    But just think - when you eventually do get to the market you can just knock any brats out of your way with the crutches!

  • misanthropic

    Ouch, I'm so sorry! I have no advice on getting around on crutches. Especially if you have a 2 story place, yikes sounds like it's going to be tricky. But I hope you're ankle and knee get better really soon!

  • luna2

    Wow, you really did a number on yourself. Ouch!

    I've never been on crutches either...sorry that I'm no help to you.

    Re the shopping: Do you have a grocery that delivers?

  • Fleur

    Oh, I have all kinds of advice for you. First of all, order takeout, get it delivered. Do not try to cook. Believe me, you will fall again and injure yourself worse if you try to do all the 'normal' things that you do.

    Bathing is a real b**** with cast/crutches. Do not even attempt getting into the tub. Dab and sponge-bathe. Gross, but that's the breaks (no pun intended) I would recommend leaning your weight on a STURDY chair on your good leg, and washing hair over a sink (kitchen works pretty well if it's deep) use a pitcher to rinse the shampoo out.

    I hope you have a friend who can bring in paper plates and cups and simple single-serving type snacks and drinks. Please believe me when I tell you, you do not want to get fancy with trying to be 'brave' and doing everything on your own as you normally would.

    As someone who falls and sprains/tears something badly at least twice a year on average due to balance issues, this is one subject I have all too much experience in.

    Forget cooking, eat pizza, and as much as humanly possible, stay OFF the leg. Avoid stairs if at ALL possible and if you have to go up or down, do it only once a day and go on your bum. Do NOT attempt to go up and down stairs on crutches. It never ends well.

    I can't tell you how many times I had to learn this the hard way, or that I saw friends do it. One person ended up with a concussion and broken arm because she slipped in her cast and hit her head trying to empty the dishwasher with a broken leg..

    the goal is to be as comfortable as possible while not inflicting any further injury. it still as much as you can. I wish you speedy healing!


  • AuldSoul

    Aude! ¡Pobre sita!

    I have one bad break and two bad tendon-stretchings (from knee to ankle on each leg) under my belt.

    For trash, there are are grip activated claws or poles with nails in the end. For laundry, its 30 trips unless you have a rolling hamper. One thing that may help is throwing the clothes downstairs and arranging to keep them there for the duration of your infirm status (if they are already downstairs then the rolling hamper may help). The reality is people have to make short term adjustments for stuff like this. Being differently abled means you have to reshape your environment for a while to revolve around your capabilities. If it was permanent, the environmental changes would have to be, also.

    Hair washing won't be the most enjoyable experience, but you can't really beat the kitchen sink at times like this. Or decide to eat the cost of getting it washed professionally (a possible upside to injury? )

    Getting dinner to the table may not be an option, if you are cooking hot stuff. You might have to take the table to the stove/oven to manage. Again, think in terms of short-term (if inconvenient) changes to the environment until you can walk again.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you get well very soon!


  • AuldSoul

    Wow, essie! I didn't know we had so much in common, lol!

  • Elsewhere
    PS: If you happen to be driving by, could I maybe hitch a ride to the market?? It's my right leg, which means I can't drive either...

    Awhile back I broke my right ankle... it took some practice but I was able to drive using my left foot. Sure, my passenger kept jumping and grabbing the dash board ever few minutes , but I got us from point A to point B.

    My broken ankle wasn't so bad that I needed a cast, so I really cannot help you with the other cast related issues.

  • MsMcDucket

    You need to get a wheelchair, so that you can do things around the house. Don't take baths, take showers. Wrap your whole cast in a garbage bag or some other sheet of plastic and tape the end while you're showering. You can, also, wash your hair in the shower. Just get some kind of shower chair. If you don't have a shower chair, buy one of those cheap plastic lawn chairs. When you go to the grocery store, use the scooters to do your shopping.

    I'll add more as I think of it.

  • AudeSapere

    OK. This is getting good.

    A few laughs and some sympathy is helping the pain subside.

    Misspeaches - Thanks for the condolences. When I get to the market, I plan on grabbing that basket with the motorized chair attached - anyone gives me guff, I can run them down in their tracks!!

    Misanthropic - Thanks. Quick seems to be relative. Yesterday the doc told me to plan on 6-7 weeks. Damn.

    Luna2 - Grocery that delivers. Hmmm Interesting. Although if/when I get a ride to the grocery store I really want to try out that motorized backet!! Vrrrooom Vrrroooom!!

    Fleur - Excellent suggestions!! My neighbor brought me some lasagna but it's near impossible to get the big tray to the counter and back in the fridge without tripping. I will switch to the paper plates and plastic cups today. So simple, can't believe I forgot about that!! My kitchen sink isn't too deep but it does have a sprayer-nozzle. I usually wash my hair everyday, but this sink thing is tough to manage - and I made a mess with water all over. Guess I need to practice. I'm 5 days into this. The first 2 nights I stayed at my brother's house to make sure that I could do some simple 'fancy' things - like get up off the toilet!! - without getting a concussion or breaking the other leg. Now that I'm home I notice that I am trying to be normal. Thanks for the advice - I need to give up 'normal' and be more realistic for the next couple of months.

    AuldSoul - Thanks for the 'Poor Baby'. Sometimes that's better than a hug. Well, maybe not better - but almost as good as...!! A gripper thingy for the trash. Great Idea! I ask my brother to find one for me. A rolling hamper is another good idea. Fortunately, my washer and dryer is upstairs where the bedrooms are. Daily professional hair-washing is out of the question. (Can't drive to get there and I am cash-conservative at the moment.) My kitchen is not designed to eat in but I think I do have a little tv table somewhere. I could set that against the wall and eat in the corner. hmmm intersesting. and practical.

    Elsewhere - About the driving... 4 years ago I broke the same ankle. Didn't stop me from driving at all. The difference this time is that I've wrecked my knee, too. The ankle is painful but functional. The knee doesn't hurt but is non-functional. As far as bracing and supports, well, I sell them for a living so I have a garage full of styles and colors!! I'm putting on my very own orthopedic fashion show this week!! I opted for removable braces this week but may change to a cool colored cast next week. Just for fun.

  • AudeSapere

    MsMcDucket - A shower chair!! Yes. That would definitely help me feel more human. Or at least clean. I opted for the removable braces so that I could bathe. But I cannot put any weight on my knee so that makes showering impossible - unless I get a shower chair. Beautiful suggestion. Thank you. (and the people who come within 12 feet of me thank you, too!)

    Any more suggestions out there?

    Or just a few more 'Poor Baby' comments???


  • bythesea

    Oh you poor thing, I do feel for your situation! I spent 1 1/2 yrs in assorted casts and on crutches after a car was the pits, but for even short term inconvenience its no fun either! Many good ideas already thrown your way...I would add that with a 2 story house(I lived in an upstairs apt so had a flight of stairs to deal with regularly) to always remember that the bad foot goes down first and when going upstairs always lead with the good foot(kind of the good goes up, bad goes down...heaven/hell theory!). When possible only use one crutch on stairs and use the handrail if one is will keep your balance better!

    I got a shower chair and used it in the tub with a handheld shower so I could control where the water went better...plastic wrap and garbage bags were my best friends! Much easier to do the hair washing this way too!

    If you're gonna be at this for awhile you might ask your Dr if you can switch over to a walker at home...if so then you can put one of those baskets on the front of it(yes, like the little grannys do at the nursing homes!) and be able to carry things from room to room with you. When it comes to cooking, just don't try and carry hot food in your hand and use crutches at the same time..a recipe for pain if there ever was one!

    If I can recall anything else that hasn't been suggested already I'll add it on as it comes to me! Hang in there! Its not fun, but once you figure these things out it becomes much less a dilemna and can even be a great conversation starter(?!) at the markets! I made up great stories after the first year on crutches...the truth got very boring!! (not THAT truth!) Good luck! (((Aude))) bythesea

  • just2sheep

    perhaps the only thing i can add to all these suggestions is to try to use a cane. it is different but it frees up one hand. it has been a long time but i remember that moving from crutches to a cane was definately progress. and they are great for teaching young whippersnappers who has the right of way in the cookie aisle. a cane and a motorized chair could make you the queen of the supermarket.


  • serendipity

    ((( Aude ))) Poor baby!

  • Fleur
    Now that I'm home I notice that I am trying to be normal. Thanks for the advice - I need to give up 'normal' and be more realistic for the next couple of months.

    Any chance you can stay with your brother a bit longer???

    I'm serious, it's dangerous for someone who is so injured the can barely make it up and down from the potty safely to be alone. I have twice injured one knee (torn ligaments) and opposite ankle (sprain/fracture/tears) usually from falling down stairs and there were times I absolutely could not get to and from the bathroom without help.

    Getting in and out of a wheelchair can be tricky esp. depending on your pain level. Sometimes, you try so hard not to feel or cause new pain in the injury that you injure other parts of yourself by falling or losing your balance. Also, be very careful of getting your cast wet; if the plastic leaks or drips you can get cast rot...and you do NOT want your cast to rot.

    I'm medical folks around here to offer ideas? Is there a nurse in the house??

    They also make those 'dry' shampoos and bath wipes for people who have difficulty bathing...those might be of help to you right now. I recommend that you look around online like at or something to see what's out there.

    I'll comment on dining options in the snacks thread! :) Hang in there sux but you will overcome!



    p.s. auld...sad to say we apparently do share a lot of experience in this type of thing! But at least we're living proof you can survive it eh? :D

  • AudeSapere

    bythesea - 18 months you spent on crutches and such?? YIKES!! You poor thing! I hope you've healed well and strong. I'm only 5 days into what looks to be a 6-7 week ordeal. I can't imagine 18months. Bad foot down; Good foot up. Thanks. I'll remember that when I get brave enough to attempt ascent/descent on my own. I'm afraid I might lose my balance. Living alone means it could get real ugly real quick. Did you feel stable while using crutches on the stairs? Using the handrail sounds like a good idea but how to get the other crutch down or up? I guess just push or slide it as far as I can. I may try that tomorrow when I'm more rested.

    I don't think a walker is appropriate for me at this time since I need to be complete non-weight-bearing right now. Doctor said: "OK to step on the egg - but don't break the egg" meaing, ok to touch the ground but don't leave much of a footprint. With the walker, I would need to put weight and my knee would not support me at this time.

    Thanks for the ideas and personal experience(s). I'm sorry you had all that trouble but I'm thankful that you shared with me so I can learn from a couple of painful mistakes.

    Just2sheep - Once my knee can support me, I will ask about a cane - or even just drop down to one crutch. In the meantime, it's tough hopping on the crutches and trying to carry anything at all.

    Serendipity - !! Oh goodie!! Another 'Poor Baby'. Thanks. I used to have some friends (jw's) that would refer to events as 'two-' or 'four-Poor Baby' days. Today is definitely a *five* 'Poor Baby' day. (Five 'PoorBaby's' to help make it better) Thanks for helping me feel better...


  • hubert

    Aud, Make sure you get a rugged pair of crutches, because you will throw them against the wall a few times.

    I was on crutches for 3 weeks when I was a teenager, (torn cartillage in right knee), and threw them against the wall at least twice.

    If you have an automatic transmission, you can still drive, as elsewhere says. Just practice in an empty parking lot for a while.

    Get some rubber pads for the crutches, cause your under arms are gonna hurt some.

    Also, don't lose your balance on stairs, and catch yourself with the crutches. I did that once, and damn near dislocated my shoulders. Both of them !!!

    Use a railing, and use both crutches under one arm, for going down stairs.

    Hope this helps. Good luck, and hope you heal quickly.


  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    My wife broke her foot 8 months into her first pregnancy. The ER gave her crutches but 10 seconds into the maneuver and it was clear they would never be used. Thankfully my back was quite a bit stronger in those days!

    Bless your heart Aude, I've never broken anything so I've no useful advice except for go slow, be careful on the toilet and never use the crutches on stairs.


  • bythesea

    AUDE....I hope you added my "you poor thing" to your "poor baby" list!! I think it should count towards your needed 5 for today!!

    I'm curious, didn't they give you instructions for the crutches before you left the Dr office , ER room or wherever you went? Especially for dealing with stairs, it is always tricky and can be so dangerous, as others have pointed out! Not only do I have 1 1/2 yrs of personal experience with being on crutches, but I am a CNA and have helped others in knowing how to get around with ambulatory equipment... To answer your question about using the crutches on stairs...

    Yes, you do need to kind of feel your way up and down the stairs...when going down always put the crutches down on the lower step first, then your good foot, then your bad one. Just the opposite when going up...the good foot goes up first, then your crutches, lastly the bad foot comes up. GO....VERY...SLOWLY!!!! If you have the handrail, as we talked about previously, then use the one crutch on the bad side to hold that weight off the knee & foot and go about ascending and descending as I described above. Its tricky sounding, and don't get cocky even after a few successful attempts at it, its still dangerous!

    The reason I mentioned the walker to you is that they are adjustable in height and if you set one up so that it was low enough then you can take the weight entirely off your one leg...its just more a hopping maneuver with the good leg than with the crutches. What kind do you have? The old fashioned wooden ones? I hope not, they are so awkward! The newer style of metal ones, with the hand piece coming out at an angle are more ergonomically correct and comfortable... I got so I could make some good time up and down the stairs and grocery aisles with them! But whichever you are chained to for the duration I hope you are careful!

    Is there a girlfiriend(or boyfriend?) who can come stay for this first few days to kind of oversee things, lend a hand and make sure you are not going to kill yourself...can you bribe someone with a case of beer or guest passes to the movies or something?? I wish I were close so I could help you out...I soooo remember how difficult it was even getting dressed in the morning! Let me know if there's anything else you need info on...PM me if you want! Hugs to you!! Bythesea

  • Odrade

    Take care of your underarms! :( bummer.

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