Depending on the nature of your injury, learning to walk again after being on crutches can be a difficult or easy task. The main factors involved are the extent of the injury, your age and fitness level, and the time you spent using crutches to aid in walking. If a cast was involved in healing the injury, and your leg, knee or ankle was completely unusable for an extended period of time, you may have experienced some muscle atrophy.
Talk with your physician when you feel you are ready to stop using crutches. If you had a cast on your leg, speak with your physician at the time of cast removal. If not, make an appointment with your doctor in order to safely stop using crutches to help you walk. Your physician is the best person to provide you with information about walking safely after your injury.
Speak with a physical therapist if your physician recommends that you do so. The physical therapist may design a program to help you heal and rebuild the muscles that you lost from using crutches. Programs may involve the use of a stationary bike, weights or leg exercises to regain strength and muscle.
Stretch your muscles before undergoing any type of exercise, including walking. Simple stretches such as sitting on the floor with your legs extended will help you to regain flexibility in the injured area. Do not extend yourself more than feels comfortable, especially when doing the stretches unsupervised.
Walk for short periods of time at first. Do not attempt to begin a complete cardiovascular regimen directly after you stop using crutches. Do not continue walking if you feel pain. Build up strength by walking for a few minutes, resting and then trying again later in the day.
Contact your physician if you are having a difficult time walking for an extended period of time after using your crutches. She may need to refer you to a physical therapist if walking is not returning to normal soon after you quit using crutches.