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How to make using crutches easier

You’ve just got home from hospital with a broken leg or following a hip replacement, knee or foot operation. You’re probably a bit out of your comfort zone. Hopefully you have someone helping you through the transition period where you get yourself set up and learn, all over again, how to do all the things you took for granted, since the first couple of days are a bit hard to manage by yourself. Even if they're just helping you do simple tasks like walking, sleeping, sitting down, standing up, getting a drink, having a shower. Here’s a few tips to make your day's easier while on crutches.

Washing up- It's recommended that you get a shower stool as this will make the process of showering much easier, especially for the first couple of weeks! If you have a cast, there are waterproof products which are a great solution. If you just have stitches it may be possible to keep that area dry just using a large freezer bag with the bottom cut off. Slide the bag up your leg and secure the top and bottom with quality tape. It comes off easily afterwards and will keep the water out for 5 minutes while you shower.

Make sure before getting in the shower, you have everything ready before you start. Keep your soap, shampoo, towel, bath mat, dressing gown at easy reach as well as your crutches.

Reorganize your living space- You’re going to need to make some changes and this will be a lot easier if you have help. Ideally you’re going to have access to a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room all on one level. If this is possible it’s worth doing as you’re going to need a fair amount of sleep while you recover.

Make sure that you have enough room to move. Doors should be left open since it’s hard to open a door on crutches. You’re going to need somewhere you can sit down with your leg raised – a sofa is good. But you’re going to have to be able to stand up again so ideally not too low. You could consider doubling up the seat cushions if that raises the height enough, but make sure your leg can be raised. You’ll need a table nearby but leave enough room to manoeuvre.

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