Crutch Walking :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Crutch Walking

Crutches may be used to keep weight off a leg or foot while it is healing. Your doctor, nurse or physical therapist will check one of the weight-bearing instructions below:
  •  “NWB” – Non-Weight-Bearing
    • Do not put any weight on the injured foot or leg.
  •  “TDWB” – Touch-Down Weight-Bearing
    • The foot may rest on the floor very lightly, but NO weight through the leg.
  • “PWB” – Partial Weight-Bearing
    • You may put some weight on the foot.
  • “WBAT” –Weight-Bearing As Tolerated
    • You may put as much weight on your leg/foot as you are comfortable with.

Image of standing straight with crutches

Picture 1: Stand straight, shoulders relaxed. Hold the crutches under your arms. Place them a little more than shoulder width apart. Hold the hand grips. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Keep the sore leg out in front.

Image of moving forward with crutches

Picture 2: Move the crutches forward slightly ahead of your "good" foot while keeping your balance on your good leg.

Image of pushing with crutches

Picture 3: With the crutches firmly on the floor, push down on your hands and hop forward on your good leg.

  • The height of the crutches should be adjusted so there is space for two fingers between your armpit and the crutch pad.
  • Your weight should be on the palms of your hands and not on your underarms. Always push down with your hands and try not to lean on the underarm pieces because this can cause tingling and numbness in your arms or hands (Pictures 1, 2, and 3).
  • Make sure you have rubber safety tips on the bottoms of the crutches. The safety tips keep you from slipping. Check the rubber tips every few days. Replace the tips if they show signs of wear.

Scooting On Stairs

You can “scoot” up or down the stairs on your bottom. For safety have someone help you with your sore leg.
  • To “scoot” upstairs: Turn around to face down the stairs and sit on a lower step. Use your arms and good leg to push yourself up the stairs, one step at a time.
  • To “scoot” down stairs: Sit down away from the edge of the top step. Scoot forward and use your arms and good leg to lower yourself down the steps, one at a time.

Follow-Up

  • It is a good idea for parents to talk to their child’s school and ask if the child can be released 5 minutes early from classes to allow time to get to the next class or the school bus.
  • Call your doctor or the Orthopedic Clinic at (614) 722-5175 to make an appointment.

If you have questions, be sure to ask your physical therapist or nurse.

 

Crutch Walking (PDF)

HH-II-6 4/77, Reviewed 4/15 Copyright 1977, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000