How to Walk with Crutches

If you have hurt yourself or you had to undergo surgery and cannot bear weight on a leg, your doctor may recommend crutches for you. Crutches are medical devices that allow you to continue being mobile while your injured leg heals. Using crutches can be a challenge. See if a family member can help you when you are first getting started with them. Be sure your crutches are adjusted to the proper height before using them. Keep reading to learn what other things to bear in mind when walking with crutches.

Basic Instructions for Using Crutches

When trying to learn how to walk with crutches,you need to ensure that your handgrips and crutch pads are at the proper distance. Here is what you need to consider:

  • Your crutch pads should be about 2 inches below your armpits – that is when your shoulders are fully relaxed.
  • Your handgrip should be in a way that your elbow stays slightly bent – you will be extending your elbow when taking a step.
  • The overall crutch length needs to be the same as the distance from your armpit to about six inches in front a shoe.

Begin in the Tripod Position

It is the position you are in when you stand holding your crutches. It is also the starting position for you when you walk with your crutches. You have to keep crutch tips about 6 inches to the side and in front of each foot to get into that tripod position. Be sure to stand on the foot that can bear the foot.

How to Walk with Crutches

You need to keep a few important tips in mind as well. For instance:

  1. Hold your crutches from the handgrips with your crutches placed slightly in front of your body.
  2. Ensure that the top of your crutches is about a couple of fingers side-by-side below your armpits. Do not press the top of your crutches into your armpits and keep your weight on your hands only.
  3. Keep the knee of your injured leg bent when walking.
  4. Move your crutches a step ahead of your body and place the rubber end firmly on the ground. Move ahead using the foot that is not injured. Always place your heel down first.
  5. Move your left crutch and right foot forward when you are using crutches for balance. Then, move your right crutch and left foot forward to keep walking.

Here is a great video to learn to walk with crutches:

How to Walk with Crutches on Stairs

Learning to walk with crutches will take some time, but it becomes even trickier when you have to walk on stairs. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Going Up the Stairs: Maintain a couple of inches’ distance between your first step and your feet. Step up with your stronger leg while pushing down on your crutches. Bring your weaker leg and crutches up to the same step by straightening your stronger leg.
  • Going Down Steps: Lower your crutches to step below to come down the stairs. Make sure to keep your crutches near the front edge of the step to maintain balance. Use your weaker leg first to step down to the same step. Now, step down with your stronger leg while pushing down on the crutches.

Getting Through Doors

It may be a bit tricky to get through doors for the first few times. If you have to open doors, you should keep the following tips in mind.

  • To Pull: Be very close to the door keeping your face towards the hinges. Slowly pull the door with your hand farthest from the door and then shift your hand quickly to give the door a shove. Lift the tip of your crutch and place it in path of the door. The door will rest against your crutch and you can walk through.
  • To Push: Keep your face away from the hinges and push against the door with your hips. Use your crutch tip to follow the bottom edge as soon as the door moves. Using the crutch tip, keep the door open and then side step part way in and walk through.


Whenever you fall, you should throw your crutches to the side and make use of your arms to handle the fall. To get up, keep the following points in mind.

You should first get into a sitting position and then try to get up. Backing up to a low chair will also help. Put your hands on the chair or stool or whatever is available – keep your hands facing backwards. Move your body up by bending your uninjured leg up. Be sure to pull with your hands at the same time to get up on to the chair.

Dos and Don'ts of Using Crutches

  • Here are some rules to keep in mind to stay safe and comfortable while using crutches:
  • Never look down while using crutches – look straight in front of you.
  • Never use crutches if you feel drowsy or dizzy.
  • Avoid walking on slippery surfaces and avoid icy, snowy, and rainy conditions.
  • Always opt for crutches that have rubber tips.
  • Wear low-heel shoes for stability.
  • Call your surgeon or therapist if you have any questions about using your crutches.