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Ambulation with Crutches

During the correction phase while wearing the TAYLOR SPATIAL FRAME , you may be required to use crutches if your leg is the affected limb. Your surgeon will prescribe a weight-bearing status for you to walk, either partial weight bearing or full weight bearing, which will determine whether or not you will be required to use crutches.

Before walking with crutches, it is important that you are fit properly for them and that you know how to walk correctly and safely. Your physical therapist will teach you techniques for standing, walking and maneuvering yourself with crutches. With a little time, practice and patience, you will learn how to walk with crutches.

  • Weight should be supported on the hand pieces to avoid damage to the nerves under the armpits (brachial plexus nerves), which can cause “crutch paralysis. 1
  • Crutch walking can cause pain in your hands. Protect your hands from pain and calluses by using hand-piece pads in good condition.
  • Long-term crutch users may benefit from new shock absorbing crutches.
  • If you are getting numbness in the hands, have your physical therapist check your crutch length and crutch technique.
  • Ask about Canadian Crutches.
  • Keep your body weight down.
  • Make sure your crutches have large rubber suction tips. 2
  • Good balance and erect posture are essential for crutch walking. Learn to balance by standing next to a chair on the unaffected leg. Wear well-fitting shoes with firm soles to prevent falls. 2
  • Stay away from wet, slippery surfaces, freshly waxed floors and rough, uneven surfaces. 3
  • Going up and down stairs requires both strength and flexibility. Make sure someone is by your side until you have regained your strength and mobility.
  • To go up and down stairs, remember - up with the good leg, down with the affected leg.



1. Schoen, Delores, C. Adult Orthopaedic Nursing. Pennsylvania: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2000.

2. Smeltzer, Suzanne C. and Brenda G. Bare. Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing. Pennsylvania: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

3. Haines, Dale (Slim). The ILIZAROV™™ & External Fixator Wearer's Support Group. Clothing Modifications, 1-2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, 1-2. Footwear, 1. ILIZAROV™ hints, tips and advice, 2, 4, 7.www.ILIZAROV™

Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.  The information on this site does not replace your doctor's specific instructions.