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Using crutches

Related Terms

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Background

  • A crutch is a walking aid that a patient who is injured below the waist uses. Through the use of its hand grips, crutches reduce the weight an injured portion of the lower body must bear by transferring part of the burden to the arms and upper body.
  • Crutches, canes, and walkers are used to provide stability, augment muscle action, and/or reduce the weight an injured area needs to bear.
  • The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that immobilization is a common treatment for sports injuries. Immobilization limits mobility in the injured area, thereby helping to prevent more damage. Slings, splints, casts, and leg immobilizers are used to prevent motion. Mobility aids such as crutches, canes, or walkers may be needed if the area to be immobilized is in the lower extremities.
  • Experts recommend that crutches be used in pairs to foster stability and ensure the best possible sequence and manner of moving the legs, or gait. When an individual's ability to withstand weight with the affected limb improves, some experts recommend using a single crutch on the side opposite the injury. When used in such a manner, the injured leg and the crutch move at the same time, and the crutch still offers a degree of weight-bearing assistance.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.