Have you experienced pain when using crutches? Yes, Crutches can be a real pain, especially when you don’t know how to use them correctly. Incorrect use of crutches can cause both shoulder and arm pain and bruise to your armpits. Your torso and arms are having to compensate for your injured leg, which puts a lot more strain on them. Here are some tips to prevent pain and upper-body injury during the next few weeks.

Lift Yourself

The most significant mistake people make on crutches is that they lean on the pad at the top of the crutch, relying on it for support. That’s the lazy way of walking on crutches, and it’s what creates a lot of pain in the upper body. When moving, your underarms should never touch these pads, but should instead stay one to two inches above it. When you aren’t moving, it’s a bit more okay to slouch on the pads, but it should still be avoided because that will create armpit bruises as well just at a slower rate. Your armpits weren’t designed to be able to hold the weight of your body. You’ll damage the brachial plexus nerves and feel the pain longer than on crutches.

Use Your Body

Most people get into the habit of using the same muscle over and over again with each step. Since arms weren’t made to hold body weight and are a lot weaker than legs, the muscles get sore and tired. The crutch’s handpiece should be at the same level as your hip when you walk, and you should be making a conscious effort to use your chest, hip pressure, and shoulders to help your arms make each step. It’s a lot to think about at first, but it will eventually come as quickly as walking itself does.

Slide Your Foot

One important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be hopping, you should be sliding your foot just a centimeter above the ground with each step. This reduces the amount of time that your body’s weight is on your arms instead of that leg, helping prevent shoulder and arm pain. It may seem like a small benefit, but it makes a big difference when you take several thousand steps a day. If you’re indoors on carpeted flooring, you don’t even have to lift your foot and drag it on the floor.

Alternative Padding

No matter what you do, you’ll sometimes contact the padding at the top of the crutches. It won’t be a big deal if you’re on crutches for just a few weeks, but if it’s a long term commitment, then it’s best to purchase alternative crutch padding from the start before the pain begins. You can get high-glycerin gel padding that goes over the top of the other filling, which causes less friction and reduces the stress on your underarms. It would help if you always kept a shirt on when walking on crutches to keep the padding from directly pulling on your skin. It is soft, but it has a lot of friction. Even with gel padding, you shouldn’t be putting weight on the pads.

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