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Old 06-13-2015, 02:19 PM
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Walking with one crutch-- which side?

Let's say your left leg is in a walking cast/boot, and you're using one crutch. Which side should it be on?

I was walking behind a woman this morning in that situation, and she had her crutch under her right arm. It seemed to me that she was using the crutch to relieve pressure on her RIGHT foot, not the left foot, which was in a walking boot. Every time she took a step with her left foot, she tilted to the right to lean on the crutch, but in fact, I could just feel the extra weight on her injured side.

Isn't the idea to use the crutch to take some of the weight off the injured foot, which means you would use the crutch on the same side as the injury? So that when you step with the injured foot, the crutch is bearing some of the weight?
Old 06-13-2015, 02:28 PM
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When you bear weight on the injured leg, the crutch is on the other side and should be taking some of the weight. Same as a cane.

There are people who do the opposite but I find it rather clumsy and ineffective.
Old 06-13-2015, 03:21 PM
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Wouldn't it depend on the nature & pain in the injured foot and which leg it your dominant leg?

I have had several injuries requiring a single crutch. I have done it both ways.

With two crutches, I seem to always stay off the injured side which makes sense to me.

I see a lot of people using a single crutch both ways. A good question IMO. I wonder....
Old 06-13-2015, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
When you bear weight on the injured leg, the crutch is on the other side and should be taking some of the weight. Same as a cane.

There are people who do the opposite but I find it rather clumsy and ineffective.
Could you clarify this?

Other side of your body from the injured leg?
Or, the opposite side of your injured leg than your good leg?
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
Could you clarify this?

Other side of your body from the injured leg?
Or, the opposite side of your injured leg than your good leg?
Other side from the bad leg.
Old 06-13-2015, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
Other side from the bad leg.
This is what doesn't make sense to me. To me, you want the crutch on the same side as the BAD leg, so that when you have to take a step with the bad leg, some of the weight will be borne by the crutch.

So that you step thusly:
1) step with good leg- all weight on good leg
2) step with bad leg PLUS crutch- crutch takes some of the weight off the bad leg
Repeat

Maybe a physical therapist or orthopedic doc will check in.

Here's a video that says use the crutch on the side of the good leg. Doesn't make sense to me.

Last edited by ThelmaLou; 06-13-2015 at 04:02 PM.
Old 06-13-2015, 04:11 PM
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I'll demonstrate. I have a bad left leg, cane in right hand.
As my right foot leaves the floor to step, weight is on my left leg and the cane on my right side. Weight is evenly distributed and I stand straight. If the cane was in my left hand, I would need to lean to the left to put weight on the cane and take the load off the leg.
When weight is on the right leg, both left leg and the cane are swinging forward.
Old 06-13-2015, 04:23 PM
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Running Coach has the correct solution to the conundrum of using a single point stick or crutch. Normal gait requires pelvic lateral stability . Forces provided by hip muscles hold the opposite side ( the non weight bearing side) from dipping down as stride through occurs. Unless these muscles are non viable, it is better to remain stable by using the stick on the opposite side. This mean normal gait and pelvic patterns are maintained, while effectively reducing the load on the sore leg. Try it yourself, using the stick on the sore side requires more effort, creates more lateral shift towards the sore side and may even increase the load on that leg.

Last edited by barfridge; 06-13-2015 at 04:24 PM.
Old 06-13-2015, 05:33 PM
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Ok. I see. Thanks for that explanation, both of you.
Old 06-14-2015, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barfridge View Post
Running Coach has the correct solution to the conundrum of using a single point stick or crutch. Normal gait requires pelvic lateral stability . Forces provided by hip muscles hold the opposite side ( the non weight bearing side) from dipping down as stride through occurs. Unless these muscles are non viable, it is better to remain stable by using the stick on the opposite side.
That's the key point, IME and from the technical words I expect barfridge actually is involved professionally in this question: people who are still using the hurt leg use the cane or crutch on the opposite side, people whose hurt leg stays in the air or is missing use it as a substitute leg.

Last edited by Nava; 06-14-2015 at 12:26 AM.
Old 06-14-2015, 01:14 AM
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When my grandpa started using a cane, his doctor told him to place it on his "good" side. running coach put the idea in layman's terms.
Old 06-14-2015, 08:14 AM
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When I broke my right ankle and they inserted a plate to stabilize it, I used a cane for a while. I tried it both ways and found that using it in the right hand was awkward and ineffectual, while using it on the left seemed natural. I assumed the explanation was that I am accustomed to bringing my left arm and right leg forward at the same time felt normal, but I guess the explanation in terms of keeping the posture upright makes more sense.

Since then I have noticed that people using two crutches separately also alternate. Left crutch supporting right leg and vice versa.
Old 06-14-2015, 08:36 AM
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There was an episode of The Cosby Show when Clair had an injured leg and Cliff explained the tripod way to use a cane. It made sense at the time, then I couldn't remember it, and running coach's explanation now reminded me of its logic again.
Old 06-14-2015, 08:58 AM
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In addition to what running coach and barfridge said, using the crutch or cane on the good side keeps it away from the bad leg. That's really important for those of us whose clumsiness got us into the mess in the first place.

Last edited by missred; 06-14-2015 at 08:58 AM.
Old 06-14-2015, 05:14 PM
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House M.D. always used his cane on the side of his good leg, not his bad leg. I thought it was a mistake at the time, and looked up the recommended cane-using procedure. Damned if the show hadn't gotten it correct, despite the counter-intuitive nature of the process.
Old 06-14-2015, 06:48 PM
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When I shattered my heel I was using a pair of crutches. After 2 months the doctor gave me the OK to weight bear on that leg so I switched to a cane. I used it on my left side (broke the left heel) to take up some of the weight so I didn't have as much weight or pain when I walked. If I had balance issues I could see using it in my other hand.
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
I'll demonstrate. I have a bad left leg, cane in right hand.
As my right foot leaves the floor to step, weight is on my left leg and the cane on my right side. Weight is evenly distributed and I stand straight. If the cane was in my left hand, I would need to lean to the left to put weight on the cane and take the load off the leg.
When weight is on the right leg, both left leg and the cane are swinging forward.
Quote:
Originally Posted by barfridge View Post
Running Coach has the correct solution to the conundrum of using a single point stick or crutch. Normal gait requires pelvic lateral stability . Forces provided by hip muscles hold the opposite side ( the non weight bearing side) from dipping down as stride through occurs. Unless these muscles are non viable, it is better to remain stable by using the stick on the opposite side. This mean normal gait and pelvic patterns are maintained, while effectively reducing the load on the sore leg. Try it yourself, using the stick on the sore side requires more effort, creates more lateral shift towards the sore side and may even increase the load on that leg.
Yes, well done, running coach. I hereby grant thee the honorary title of walking coach.
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