You Suddenly Need A Walking Aid – Now What?

April 19th, 2019 Becki Andrus
Foot Specialist Near Me

What To Expect While Using A Walking Aid

Regardless of your age, or how frequently you maintain a regular exercise regimen, there is always the possibility that an unexpected injury will suddenly occur that leaves you unable to walk on a temporary basis.

This could be the unfortunate result of issues such as a broken leg, or broken ankle, or it might be due to a knee injury such as a torn ACL, or a severe ankle sprain. There is also an assortment of chronic conditions that could radically alter your day-to-day lifestyle in a similar manner.

That will force you to cope with the reality of using a walking aid in order to move from place to place. This could involve a pair of crutches, possibly a walker, or maybe a cane – depending upon the specifics of your situation. The common challenge in each of these scenarios will be your inability to walk as you normally would.

Even though your health issue might temporarily test your patience, the crutches, cane, or walker will provide you with the benefits of movement. Even if that process will not be as smooth as you are accustomed to when your feet and legs are functioning properly.


If one of the injuries or conditions that can occur with your leg, knee or foot will prohibit you from placing any weight on your foot for walking, you could easily find that crutches are your best source for providing assistance when you are confronted by this situation.

In order to use your crutches most effectively, it can be beneficial to understand some basic recommendations about how to position yourself when walking, standing, and sitting.

First, you should examine your crutches to make sure that you have a comfortable level of cushion on the grips and armpits. You might eventually experience pain if there is not sufficient padding in these areas.  

When you begin standing up, your goal should be to keep your crutches two inches underneath your armpits. Also, the handgrips of the crutches should be kept at the same level as the top of your hips. and your elbows should be somewhat bent when you are clasping the handgrips.

It is also best to support your weight by using your hands as opposed to placing pressure on your armpits. This also reduces the likelihood of encountering an issue with the blood vessels or nerves that are located in your armpits.    

When you are walking with the crutches, it is most effective to keep them about 12 inches in front of you and to also make sure that they are held at a distance that is slightly wider than your body. As you attempt to move with the crutches, it is wise to lean on the handles and to complete each step by moving your strongest leg forward as opposed to the leg that has impacted by the injury or debilitating condition. You should also keep looking ahead of you, and avoid looking down at your feet.

When you are sitting with the crutches, you should make sure that any chair that you are about to use will support you properly. Before you begin to sit, it is important that you keep the leg or foot that is healthy directly in front of you. At that point, you can hold both crutches in one of your hands, and use your other hand to grip the chair as you begin the process of lowering yourself down.

The crutches are less likely to fall as you lower yourself if you hold them upside down. When you are ready to stand once again, you should work your way to the front of your chair, then repeat the process of keeping one hand on the chair while your other hand holds the crutches upside down. You should also use only your good leg and foot to support yourself as you stand up.  


In some situations, a walker will be your best resource for movement because it will supply you with more support than you can receive from a set of crutches or a cane. A walker will allow you to significantly decrease the amount of weight that is absorbed by your lower body by operating in conjunction with your arms to assume the responsibility of transporting you when you walk.

The walker should be maneuvered at approximately an arm’s length in front of you, as you balance yourself with your arms. This should be done as you keep your back straight and push downward with your arms, You should also make sure to avoid taking any long steps as you move forward while placing the majority of the weight on your healthiest leg.


In the aftermath of some injuries, the use of a cane is the most effective walking aid. This includes some situations in which older adults are dealing with a condition that requires a certain level of assistance in order to move more comfortably. A cane will provide support while still allowing some independence that does not necessarily exist with walkers and crutches. The cane should always be held in the hand that is on the opposite side from the side of your body that is in need of support.

At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help

If you encounter discomfort, illness, injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in physical activity, we are here to make sure that you can return to pain-free participation in the activities and lifestyle that you prefer. 

That is why Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical sports therapy, and state-of-the-art-technology including our digital imaging and open MRI, and an on-site surgical center for more patient convenience.

Our board-certified doctors have been practicing medicine for a combined 183 years. This includes expertise in sports medicine, through which our physicians provide personalized care for a broad range of sports-related injuries – big or small.

In addition to the services we provide that are related to Sports Medicine and In-House Imaging, our physicians are always available to help you, should you require joint replacement, or arthroscopic surgery, while our specialists are also here to assist with physical therapy, rehabilitation, and orthopedic trauma.

While the severity of injuries can vary, we treat a full range of sports-related health issues that include conditions that can be minor, serious, or anything in between. The types of injuries that we can assist you with include:

  • ACL Tears
  • Fractures
  • Weight lifter’s shoulders
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Meniscal injuries and tears
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Dislocations
  • Labral Tears
  • Minor injuries like bruises, muscle cramps, pain, and shin splints

Some of the more common symptoms from a sports injury include: 

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Tender joints and bones
  • Loss of ability to place weight on the injured joint
  • Loss of ability to move the injured joint
  • A joint or bone that is visibly out of place

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or have any questions are sports-related injuries, we encourage you to visit one of our Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today to be on your way to feeling better.

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