How to Walk with One Crutch

How to Walk with One Crutch

Conventional crutches are a popular walking aid, often prescribed to assist a person with a leg, ankle or foot injury. Designed to help you get around without putting weight on your injured limb, crutches transfer body weight from the legs to the upper body. While you’ll usually be instructed to use a pair of crutches, there are some instances where walking with a single crutch might be necessary, or just more convenient.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to walk safely with one crutch, the various side effects this can cause, and run through some of the best crutch alternatives, which might be more suited to your circumstances.

When to use one crutch

Here are a few of the most common situations that might cause you to switch to one crutch:

  • When you’re using two crutches, small tasks like carrying groceries, a handbag or any other bulky luggage become more difficult and uncomfortable.
  • Going up or down a flight of stairs? Then you need a hand free to hold onto the bannister – this simply isn’t possible when you’re carrying both crutches.
  • If you’ve been using two crutches consistently, and you start to experience pain in one arm, you may want to switch to a single crutch for a while.
  • Any other situation where you might need a hand free – from making a cup of coffee to shaking hands with a colleague, or petting your dog.

How to walk with one crutch

  1. Make sure your injured leg is protected – if you haven’t been fitted with a cast or walking boot, try using a Tubigrip support or a thick sock.
  2. Stand near a wall or surface for support, then take your crutch and place it under the arm that’s opposite your injured leg. This placement will enable you to lean away from your weaker foot when you walk, but you’ll still have to put some weight on it, in order to get around.
  3. If you can, adjust the length of your crutch, so when you’re standing up straight, you can fit three or four fingers between the padded top of the crutch and your armpit.
  4. Next, move the hand grip on the crutch so that it’s level with your wrist when your arm is hanging loosely by your side.
  5. Try putting some of your weight on the crutch, and spend a few minutes adjusting your stance until you achieve a comfortable balance.
  6. Now to take your first step! Move your crutch around 30cm forward, and at the same time, gently step forward with your injured leg. This should split your body weight between your leg and the crutch.
  7. Follow this step by putting your other, uninjured foot forward, keeping your hand on the crutch grip the whole time. Keep repeating this sequence, moving the injured leg and crutch in sync with one another other, then stepping past them both with your stronger leg.

How to get up stairs with one crutch

Getting up a flight of stairs is a little trickier than walking on a flat surface, but it’s far easier to manage with a single crutch than a pair. Here’s how you do it:

  1. At the bottom of the staircase, grab the railing or bannister with the hand on the same side as your injured leg. Keep your crutch under the arm on the opposite side of your body.
  2. To take your first step, put pressure on both the crutch and the railing, then step up with your stable foot first.
  3. Next, bring your injured leg and your crutch up with you, so both feet are on the same step.
  4. Repeat this process, taking your time until you feel more confident. If there isn’t a bannister to lean on, you might need two crutches to safely ascend the stairs.

The disadvantages of using one crutch

  • With one crutch, it’s inevitable that you’ll put slightly more weight on the injured leg, as you’re not transferring your whole weight to the crutches themselves. If that foot shouldn’t be bearing any weight at all, you need two crutches, or an alternative like the iWALK hands-free knee crutch.
  • There’s the potential for greater discomfort in the hand or arm you’re using to hold the crutch, until your body adjusts to the change in posture.
  • There might also be an increased risk of falling, as one handheld crutch generally provides a less stable base than two.
  • Similarly, you might experience poorer balance for a little while, as you get used to walking on one crutch and find your rhythm.

What are the alternatives to using one crutch?

If you’re struggling with any of the disadvantages above, or simply finding it difficult to move around efficiently with one crutch, there are plenty of other mobility aids to consider.

Knee scooters

Also known as a knee caddy or orthopaedic scooter, a knee scooter is a mobility aid with 2 to 4 wheels, bicycle-style handlebars and a pad to rest your knee on. Unlike crutches, knee scooters require minimal balance, and offer a speedier means of ambulation.

iWALK hands-free knee crutches

Ideal for active users, iWALK hands free knee crutches are an innovative mobility aid which give you full use of both hands, even while you’re walking around. The hands-free knee crutch is strapped directly to your injured leg, with the foot and ankle raised up behind you for maximum comfort. By putting your weight on the knee of your injured leg, you’ll also improve circulation and prevent muscle atrophy, all while keeping your hands free to cook, pick up the phone, play with your kids… the possibilities are endless! Take a look at our full list of user benefits.

Canes and walking sticks

A popular choice for long-term mobility aid users, canes and walking sticks operate in a similar way to a crutch, lightening the load on your injured foot and increasing the base of support to improve stability. There’s a huge variety of canes available on the market, including models which branch out into several feet, or even have a built-in seat.

Gutter frames

With a gutter frame, you can support a large portion of your body weight using your forearms. This kind of walking aid generally consists of four poles, braced together on a set of small wheels, with two armrests at the top to lean against. Thanks to their sturdy base of support, gutter frames are often used during rehabilitation, but they’re most suited to indoor use rather than long distances.

Keen to find out more about the the latest model of hands-free knee crutch? Visit the iWALK 3.0 product page or send us an enquiry using our online form.


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UK Knee Crutches Introduces the iWALK 3.0

UK Knee Crutches Introduces the iWALK 3.0

Brand new to the UK’s mobility aid market, the iWALK 3.0 is the latest hands-free knee crutch to be developed, and features several key improvements on its predecessor, the iWALK 2.0.

Like every previous model of hands-free knee crutch, the iWALK 3.0 is fitted directly to the injured leg, raising the foot and ankle off the ground so you don’t have to.

Other popular mobility aids – like knee scooters and conventional crutches – require the use of your hands to operate, making multitasking very difficult when you’re on the move. Even small things like carrying your shopping or making a phonecall can become a real hassle, but you can leave these issues behind with the iWALK 3.0. This hands-free knee crutch leaves your hands completely unoccupied, allowing you to resume your day-to-day life with minimal disruption.

Plus – thanks to its versatile design – the iWALK 3.0 is compatible with a wide variety of foot and ankle injuries. This walking aid can be used with foot fractures, sprained, broken or dislocated ankles, plantar fasciitis and calf muscle strain – but take a look at our injury suitability page for a more detailed break down.

So, what’s new with the iWALK 3.0?

While the fundamental design of the hands-free knee crutch hasn’t changed, a handful of significant upgrades allows the iWALK 3.0 to offer a revolutionary level of comfort, functionality and mobility. From improved stability and comfort to better airflow within the knee platform, you’re guaranteed to enjoy an enhanced performance with the iWALK 3.0.

Keen to find out more about this model? See the iWALK 2.0 and iWALK 3.0 side by side over on our comparison page, where we reveal exactly which elements of the design have changed, and how these updates will benefit our users.

Want more details on the iWALK 3.0 model, or just want to get your hands on one? Its available right now over on our product page.

new iWALK3.0 crutch with annotated features and benefits


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Do You Need Crutches With A Walking Boot?

Do You Need Crutches With A Walking Boot?

Designed to protect the foot and ankle, a walking boot – or CAM boot – is a medical shoe that’s usually prescribed in the wake of an injury, or to support recovery after surgery. If you’re wearing a walking boot, you’ve probably sustained an injury that can only withstand partial weight bearing, so you may be instructed to use it in conjunction with other mobility aids, like crutches.

What kind of injuries might you need a walking boot for?

Broken bones – for a bad or complex break, you might be fitted with a cast first, but depending on the facture, you could also be prescribed a boot straight after the injury occurs.

Tendon injuries – walking boots might also be prescribed after a tendon injury, like an Achilles tear or even severe shin splints.

Severe sprains – there are three different categories of sprain. While a first-degree sprain is mild and has a quick recovery time, second and third-degree sprains involve more serious ligament damage, and might require the use of a walking boot.

Surgical recovery – lastly, walking boots are often used to aid recovery following an ankle or foot operation; for example, a boot could be prescribed where immobilisation is needed for a fracture to heal properly after realignment surgery.

How to Use a Medical Boot

When you’re prescribed a medical boot, it’s important you know how to fit it correctly – if you don’t, you could cause further damage or slow down your recovery. Here’s a quick break down of how to fit a walking boot:

  1. First, make sure you’re sitting down. Take a comfortable sock and slowly slide it over your toes and foot, before gradually pulling it up your leg.
  2. Pick up your walking boot, and undo (don’t just loosen) all the Velcro straps from top to bottom, so the boot has a long opening at the front.
  3. Place the open boot behind your relevant leg, and then cautiously slide your foot and ankle backwards into it, without flexing your joint.
  4. Now you need to do up the straps. Start with the one closest to your toes, threading the Velcro through the plastic bar and securing it. It should be tight enough to restrict the movement of your foot and ankle, without constricting circulation.
  5. Work your way up the boot, securing all the other Velcro straps in the same way.
  6. Once you’re happy with how the boot fits, it’s time to practise walking. In a standard shoe, you’d walk from heel to toe, but medical boots often have a curved base to help you roll smoothly from one to the other, reducing the impact of the movement.
  7. Start by tentatively putting some weight on your foot, and walking slowly around the room. At the beginning, your doctor is likely recommend using a crutch at the same time. You should hold your crutch in the hand on the opposite side to your injured foot or ankle.
  8. If your boot is on too tight, your circulation might be affected. Check your toes and foot fairly regularly to make sure there’s no sign of additional redness or swelling.

Why Walking Boots are Important

Medical walking boots are a very popular orthopaedic device, and while they’re less rigid than a traditional cast, they offer several convenient advantages:

  • They still significantly limit the movement in your foot and ankle. As we mentioned earlier, this can protect broken bones, damaged tendons and ligaments, and help recovery after surgery.
  • Medical boots are also adjustable, so you can increase the level of mobility they allow over time, as the area starts to heal.
  • Unlike casts, walking boots are also completely removeable, so they can be taken off for a shower and at night (or at least loosened, if you’ve been advised to wear yours to bed).
  • Some medical boots even come with fitted air cushions, to stop the injured part of your foot or ankle from moving around, and lend it some extra protection.
  • Most importantly, a CAM boot encourages a gradual, comfortable recovery. They can even help you get back on your feet more quickly, as they allow you to bear some weight throughout your recuperation.

What are crutches for?

A crutch is a type of walking aid that transfers the weight of a person from the legs to the upper body. They’re generally used by people with foot, ankle or leg injuries, as well as anyone who needs long-term assistance with mobility.

There are three different kinds of crutch, but for a short-term injury, you’re likely to be given either Axilla or elbow crutches. Depending on your injury, you might be instructed to use a pair or a single crutch, and either way they’re frequently prescribed for use alongside a walking boot.

How to Walk in a Walking Boot, Without Crutches

There’s a whole host of reasons why some users might find conventional crutches uncomfortable. Many find walking with crutches causes them to collapse into poor posture, develop blisters on their hands or pain in their armpits – not to mention the inconvenience of constantly having your hands full! Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to consider when you’re using a walking boot:

Consider a cane

A cane is designed for singular use, and provides increased stability to help you move around with more confidence. There’s a huge variety of canes on the market, including models with curved and straight handles, different types of grip, and even canes which split into three or four legs, if you need a little extra help with balance.

person with aircast boot walking with iwalk2.0 hands free crutch

Try iWALK hands-free knee crutches

The iWALK hands-free knee crutch is a revolutionary device that can get you moving straight away. Rather than carrying it, you wear an iWALK hands-free knee crutch on the injured leg itself, so just like the name suggests, both hands are free to read, cook, carry a bag or pick up your toddler – the possibilities are endless.
With an iWALK hands-free crutch, you’ll be walking on your injured leg, but putting weight on your knee, rather than your foot or ankle. This is a big advantage, as it allows for greater blood flow and minimises muscle atrophy. Unlike regular crutches, the iWALK hands-free crutch will support your injured foot – so you won’t have to keep a heavy walking boot raised all day, and as the injured foot is secured to the crutch, it’s a lot less exposed too.

Opt for a wheelchair or a walker

If you’ve been given a boot to limit movement, but it’s too painful to put any weight on your foot at all, a wheelchair could be the perfect option for getting around until you’re a little more recovered. Once you’re on the mend and ready to start taking some tentative steps, you could move up to a walker – this is a solid, square frame on two wheels that you push in front of you.

Let’s recap…

While walking boots can provide additional stability, their primary function is to protect your foot or ankle, and help fractures or tendon injuries to heal. With this in mind, it’s not advisable to use a medical boot as a standard shoe, and put your full weight on it without any additional support.

But when it comes to mobility aids, conventional crutches aren’t your only option. The iWALK hands-free knee crutch is a fantastic alternative, which can help you recover without putting your life on hold. They’re suitable for use straight after an injury or surgery, and easy to wear with a walking boot, so you can get your independence back, and enjoy maximum mobility while you’re on the mend.


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