You have been advised by your doctor or therapist to use crutches. This is to take some or all of the weight off your leg to help it to heal. You will be advised by your doctor or therapist how much weight you can put through your lower limb.

You will have been measured to ensure the crutches are at the correct height for you, but the handle should be level with the wrist joint when your arm is straight by your side.

Non weight bearing

This is when you should not put any weight through the lower limb and all the weight of the leg is taken on the arms and crutches.

Place both crutches forward and hop through with the opposite leg. The body weight is taken entirely on the hands.

Partial weight bearing

This is when you are able to take full weight on the unaffected leg, and some weight on the affected leg.

Place both crutches and affected leg forward. Place as much weight as you have been instructed on the leg, with the remaining weight shared between the crutches. Swing the unaffected leg forward in front of the crutches.

How to use crutches on the stairs

Going upstairs

With 2 crutches:

  • Face the stairs with the crutches close to the first step.
  • Push on the crutches and place strong leg up onto the first step
  • Straighten the strong leg and lift the crutches and weaker leg up to the same step

With 1 crutch and a bannister on the right:

  • Hold the right hand crutch on the outside of the left crutch so it creates a cross shape
  • Push on the crutch and the bannister and place the strong leg up onto the first step
  • Straighten the strong leg and lift the crutch up to the same step

Going downstaires

With 2 crutches:

  • Face the stairs with the crutches close to the first step
  • Place crutches on the lower step, take the weight on the crutches and slowly lower the good leg on the same step as the crutches

With 1 crutch and a bannister on the right:

  • Hold the right hand crutch on the outside of the left crutch so it creates a cross shape
  • Taking the weight through the banister and crutch lower the good leg on the same step as the crutches

If you have any questions regarding this advice, please contact the Physiotherapy Department on:
01935 384358

Ref: 07-17-116
Review: 09-06-2017