The use of Sports Medicine Braces and Supports may require using crutches to keep weight off an injury while moving around. Athletes requiring crutches for support while healing an injury often receive little to no instruction on properly moving around on them. Even worse, improperly fit crutches and incorrect movement can further injury from a slip and fall, or the stresses of uneven movement.
Sports Medicine Braces and Supports which assist in recovery of various injuries work best with crutches properly adjusted to an athlete while standing upright. Place the tip of each crutch two inches in front of the toe of the footwear the patient will use, or any brace or support worn on the foot, and six inches away from the outside edge. Leave 2-3 finger widths of space between the top of each crutch head and the armpit. The armpits never support the body weight on the heads of the crutches.
With the athlete’s arms bent at a 25 to 30 degree angle, set the crutch grips’ height even with the hands. Support the body weight with the hands while moving. Depending on the injury, some Sports Medicine Braces and Supports allow for partial weight bearing. In such cases, the injured appendage moves with the crutches. Regulate the amount of weight applied to the injured side with the hands and push off with the uninjured leg. As much as the brace or support allows, dorsiflex (flex upward toward the body) the toes and step normally with the heel. This helps to avoid contacting the ground in a way that may aggravate the injury. Complete the stride by stepping through with the uninjured leg, placing that foot ahead of the crutches.
If the injury cannot bear any weight, flex the injured leg so it doesn’t touch the ground. Keeping the weight on the uninjured leg, move the crutches forward 12 to 15 inches then swing the uninjured leg forward, landing ahead of the crutches on the heel of the foot.
To move up and down stairs, a simple mnemonic device is “up with the good, down with the bad.” Move up stairs by placing the uninjured leg’s foot and follow with the crutches. Move downward placing the crutches first, then follow by stepping with the uninjured leg.
Contact Mueller Sports Medicine for more information on the variety of Sports Medicine Braces and Supports available to assist with recovery of lower limb injuries.