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Crutches and children - standing and walking

Definition

Help your child learn how to stand and walk safely with crutches.

Standing with Crutches

Your child has to balance himself a little to stand with crutches. Tell your child to hold his head high, keep his shoulders back, and tuck in his stomach and buttocks. Have your child stand on his good leg. Keep the crutches slightly forward and apart.

Walking with Crutches (No Weight Bearing on Hurt Foot or Leg)

This means that your child cannot put any weight on the hurt foot or leg. He needs to use his arms, hands, crutches, and good foot to move about. Tell your child to: 

  • Stand on the good foot. Hold the crutches against his side. Squeeze them with his arms and side. 
  • Move the crutches about one step in front, with the crutches out a little wider than his feet. Move the hurt leg forward. 
  • Push down on the crutches with his hands on the handgrips. Squeeze the crutches between his arms and sides. 
  • Put his weight on the handgrips and move forward. Don’t lean on the armpits. Putting weight on the armpits can hurt, and your child can get a rash and damage nerves and blood vessels under his arm. 
  • Hop forward on the good foot just a little in front of the crutches. This is one step. 
  • Start the next step by moving the crutches about one step in front. 
  • Look ahead when walking, not at his feet.

Walking with Crutches (Partial Weight Bearing)

This means that your child can touch the ground with his bad foot to help with balance. Tell your child to: 

  • Stand on his good foot. 
  • Move the crutches about one step in front.
  • Put the bad leg forward with the crutch tips. His toes can touch the ground, or he can put a little weight on the foot. 
  • Put most of the weight on the handgrips. Squeeze the crutches between the arm and the side of your chest. 
  • Take a step with the good leg.

Review Date: 9/27/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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