How to Stop Crutches from Hurting Your Hands
Whether you use crutches as a long-term mobility aid, or you’re relying on them during recovery from an injury, conventional crutches can cause all sorts of secondary discomfort. One of the biggest issues that frequent users experience is hand pain, caused by tightly gripping the handles – which are usually made from hard plastic or rubber – for prolonged periods of time.
Keep reading as we unpack the various ways you can prevent crutches from hurting your hands, and run through a few mobility alternatives worth considering, if you find that crutches aren’t for you.
Adjust Your Crutches
Standard issue elbow crutches can be adjusted in line with your height, which can make them both more practical and comfortable to use. Luckily, it’s super easy to make sure your crutches are properly adjusted:
- Stand up straight, and rest your crutch against your arm.
- Check that the handle of the crutch is level with your wrist.
- If it’s not, push in the pins and move the handle to the right height.
- While you’re at it, check that the foot of the crutch is up to scratch. On the bottom of NHS crutches, there should be two distinct grey rings and a circle in the middle. If these have worn away – you may need a replacement pair.
Use Padding to Prevent Soreness
Padding is another way effective way to minimise hand pain when you’re using crutches. You can purchase specially made padding, which slides onto the handle of the crutch to cushion your hand when you put your weight on it – or improvise by wrapping the handle in a soft pair of socks, Tubigrip, or something similar.
Make Sure You’re Using Them Correctly
When you’re given a pair of crutches by your doctor, you should also get a crash course in how to use them, without putting weight on your injured leg. Using crutches correctly will make them more comfortable, help with your posture and the speed of your mobility too. Here’s a little refresher on how to use crutches correctly if your injury is non-weight bearing:
- Take a crutch in each hand, and stand with all your weight on your good leg. You’ll need to keep your injured leg elevated slightly behind you.
- Make sure the crutches are level with your feet, and placed around 15cm away on each side.
- Move both crutches about 30cm forward at the same time.
- Lean all of your weight onto the crutches, and then step forward on your uninjured leg.
- Repeat this process, bringing the crutches forward then following with your good leg, until you find a comfortable rhythm.
Started using a single crutch? Take a look at our recent blog on How to Walk with One Crutch for a step-by-step breakdown of the process.
Try a Different Mobility Aid
If you need to avoid putting weight on your injured leg, but you’re struggling to keep it elevated behind you, a wheelchair could be a good temporary alternative to crutches. The NHS should be able to provide you with a basic wheelchair free of charge, but there are also several charitable and voluntary wheelchair hire schemes in the UK which may be able to help.
iWALK Hands Free Knee Crutch
Completely unlike any other mobility aid on the market, the iWALK hands-free knee crutch is a game-changing walking aid that you wear, rather than carry. The iWALK 3.0 is fitted directly to your injured leg, so you put your weight on your knee, while your foot and ankle are strapped to the crutch behind you.
Not only does this revolutionary design allow you to keep both hands free for whatever life throws at you, but is also supports your injured foot or ankle – so you’re spared the effort of keeping it elevated all day. Plus, as you’re still using and moving your injured leg when you walk, you’ll also benefit from increased blood flow, which can help with recovery and decrease the risk of muscle atrophy. You can see a full list of advantages over on our patient benefits page.
Usually mounted on three or four wheels, a knee scooter has a comfortable padded platform to rest your injured knee on, while you use your other leg to push yourself along. Equipped with sturdy handles and sometimes even a small storage basket, knee scooters are a convenient option for common foot and ankle injuries at a midrange price point.
The ideal solution if you struggle with mobility in general, and still want a speedy way to get around, mobility scooters are especially popular amongst those with long-term conditions and disabilities. They can vary hugely in price range, according to brand, size and quality, but there are plenty of used mobility scooters on the market at a more affordable price.