What Are the Dangers of Using Crutches?

Written by allison horky
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What Are the Dangers of Using Crutches?
Crutches present dangers due to limited mobility and balance. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

You may find yourself using crutches if you have injured yourself in a way that impairs your mobility. People with lifelong disabilities will also use crutches to navigate sidewalks and buildings. By using your arms to place the crutches, you have a sense of control, but the crutches can also decrease your balance. Certain dangers inherent to crutches may make them difficult to use.

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Uneven Terrain

Uneven sidewalks and roads are difficult to traverse if you are using crutches. Because your legs are not at full strength, your balance and ability to correct a misstep is weakened. You increase the possibility of falling on crutches if your crutch gets caught in a crack or stumbles over a rock. This risk is higher during winter with hidden ice patches and snow mounds. Take extra caution on these types of surfaces.

Repetitive Arm Movements

Crutches also present concerns for your arms, wrists and hands. You are placing an amount of stress on your arms that is not usually there. The repetitive motion of walking forward causes irritation, rubbing and general discomfort. The weight of your body on your wrists becomes painful to manage day after day.

Temperature Regulation

If you must use crutches in winter, then temperature regulation becomes crucial. Your hands are often exposed, releasing body heat and making your core temperature lower. Increased contact between your skin and metal crutches presents the danger of numbing and frostbite. Using crutches requires more energy than walking and you will become warm. If needed, take off layers to cool yourself, but put them on once you have stopped walking. You will not want to become too cold too quickly.

Weight on the Injury

When using crutches, the injured body part is free to move around. By not having it contained to a chair or more stable apparatus, you can accidently bump or hit the injured area. Take caution when walking and sitting that the injured part is out of the way of traffic. It will not only hurt for the body part to be nudged, but it can delay healing time as well.

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