4 Feb 2009

How to walk with an elbow crutch?

When you have to use an elbow crutch, ideally a physiotherapist should teach you how to use it.  However, sometimes you may have to learn it yourself (like I did now).  Since there isn't much information available online, I thought I'd post a HowTo.  Remember that I am in no way authorized to write about this; I am writing whatever I learned by myself.

Hold the crutch on the hand opposite to the weak/broken leg.  I have a fracture in my left leg, so I am holding the crutch with my right hand.  (Ensure that the crutch is of the right height; you should be able adjust its height to suit you.)  Move the crutch and your weak leg forward.  Applying pressure on your weak leg and the crutch, move the other leg forward.  That's pretty much it.

I made two mistakes.  I walked too fast.  My knee started hurting after some time; so now I'm taking it easy and slow.  I kept looking down as I walked.  For some strange reason I don't understand, looking straight makes walking easier.  Hope this helps.  Wish you a speedy rehabilitation :)

Update (Feb 9, 2009): I learned a couple more things today.  Breathing smoothly makes the walk less tiring.  Holding onto objects (like tables, etc.) for support is very good, but not if it would take away your confidence when you have to leave them behind.  Look carefully if your mind says "oh my god" when you leave such a supporting object.  Confidence is very important than anything else.


  1. Wow that's some howto :P

    I hope I never need to refer it! Get well soon. :)

  2. It is a useful tip. Even if we don't have the need to use crutch we may require it for a friend, relative and near and dear ones.
    Dear Manki, can you also share how you recover and how much will power is required to walk on your own again?

  3. @Anonymous: glad you find this useful. I'm not sure how well I can answer the question about will power. These things come to mind:

    1. Focus on the positives. Don't be worried that you cannot walk now, but watch closely and notice even the small improvements.

    2. Be happy in general. Watch movies, read comics or books, listen to music -- do anything you like and keep yourself happy. You need all the energy you can get for recovering fast; don't waste it on negative things.

    3. Do things that would make you feel confident. And avoid things that would make you lose your confidence.

  4. I must digg your post so other people can see it, really helpful, I had a tough time finding the results searching on the web, thanks.

    - Murk

  5. I've just been given the go-ahead to weight-bear after slipping on an icy path and fracturing my hip 7 weeks ago. I've to use only one elbow crutch now. I don't see my physio until next week so was looking for a 'How To' on the web. This is the advice on using 1-crutch I've found, so thank you! I'll keep it slow, don't worry. There's only one chance to get this right!

  6. Good luck, ValMcK. Hope you soon discard the crutch! :)

  7. Hi Manki, I am using a single Elbow Crutch to support me in walking as the hip joint of left leg has been damaged due to polio. But sometimes I find it difficult to use the crutch special on wet floor. I felt down for several times while walking over the slippery floor and got injured. Is there any solutions for this problem.

    1. Very sorry to hear that, Nasir. Wet, slippery floors don't provide good support for crutches, so it can be difficult to balance. Not using the crutch when the floor is wet is an option: you may use a walker or have someone in family hold you when you walk. If these are not practically suitable options, ask your physiotherapist; he/she may be able to suggest something different. Wish you the best of luck!