How To Walk On Crutches With A Broken Ankle

A broken ankle is one of the most common ankle fractures. On the other side, it’s the trauma that requires some of the most long-lasting, detailed and careful rehabilitation processes. In most cases, except for an intervention, physical therapy, taking medications and visiting your physician on a regular basis, using crutches would be prescribed for you to recover as fast and properly as possible.

What is the recovery process for a broken ankle?

As we have already mentioned to you, using crutches might be a must for your recovery process if you are diagnosed with a broken ankle. However, it’s not going to be enough to fully get back on your feet soon. Speaking of which, time will be needed and patience is something that is necessary to include in your personal rehabilitation process and spiritual adjustment.

The rehabilitation after having a broken ankle can vary – depending on the previous patient’s health condition it might last from 6 to 12 weeks. The availability of severe pain and a high level of inflammation might increase this period. In all cases, you will be explained about each detail from the recovery in a specially tailored treatment plan. The plan in most general cases includes:

1. If the trauma is extensive, expect surgery. Moreover – the more severe the fracture is, the faster the intervention should be performed. The good news is that this isn’t a complicated medical procedure.

2. You might be also put in a splint. It takes to wear it for a couple of days. Indeed, this isn’t very pleasant, but it is necessary to avoid complications and side effects such as swelling, infection or new bone fracture.

3. The non-surgical beginning steps from a recovery include using an ankle brace, air cast, walking boot or even fiberglass cast. It takes six weeks for the bone to recover with such medical treatment.

4. You will be prescribed, special medication groups. The first group is to reduce the pain you might have as ankle fractures are quite painful. On the other side, if the inflammation process is huge, you will be given anti-inflammatory products. The second group of medications might be even taken in the form of food supplements.

5. You will be required to visit physicians for exercises specially designed for the other leg not to lose shape during the recovery. It might be also needed to have some massages or other mechanical therapies to fasten the healing process.


6. Last, but not least, you will have to walk with mobility aids till your bone gets healed at a full value. Here is where you will be given several options to choose from – cane, scooter or crutches. Please, note that in 90% of the cases the doctors prefer to offer you a pair of crutches for two main reasons. First of all, it’s not so painful to use and move with rather than it is with a cane. Second of all, the scooter will minimize your mobility abilities of the rest body parts, which is why keeping good body shape with crutches is more preferable.

What’s the best practice to use crutches with a broken ankle?

If this is the first time you use crutches, you might feel the experience as quite frustrating, especially with the severe pain from the ankle fracture or recent surgical intervention. This is why we strongly recommend you to either get a trainer for the task or to be extremely attentive when the physical explains to you how to walk on crutches with a broken ankle. On the other side, we have some fundamental tips that are very handy for your first experience on the crutches:

  • Before attempting to use a crutch, you must resize to your size. Do not make an assumption – make sure the crutch is good for you before attempting its use.
  • Now, unto starting to walk with crutches, make sure the weight of your body is resting on the fit leg (the healthy leg). This ensures that no pressure is placed on the injured ankle.
  • Now, be extremely patient and move the crutches in front of you, but make sure it’s not too far to maintain good body stability.
  • Continue with shifting the body weight from the healthy leg to your arms. Now, swing your body unto the crutches and allow the crutches to carry your weight.
  • Last, but not least, be gentle with your body and carefully put the healthy foot ahead of the crutches and repeat the procedures again.

Universal tips for walking on crutches, including when having a broken ankle

Although a broken ankle sounds like a very serious trauma, in most cases the recovery approach it requires is the same we find in other leg traumas. The same goes for the proper usage of crutches – either with a broken ankle, or other fracture. This is why we believe, it would be helpful for you to have in mind some of the top universal tips for walking on crutches:

  • On mandatory, follow your therapist’s exercise routine. Being active during recovery is a must. However, meanwhile, it is not ok to put too much pressure on you, but increase the speed of walking and exercise difficulty level gradually.
  • Pay some serious attention to your weight. It is not ok to put too much weight on you, because the more you weigh, the harder it gets to walk around. Plus, you will get quite many side effects like skin irritation and body pains.
  • Prepare your house for the recovery process. Of course, you can do that before the surgery or getting in a hospital for in-house treatment of the broken ankle. Arrange the interior the way it will be convenient, especially for you. If you are late, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
  • Don’t get on the crutches only a few hours after the surgery, if you have had one. The first days are crucial and it’s better to remain in the bed. Wait for your therapist to give you a sign.
  • Don’t give up if you feel some difficulties in your first attempts. It’s hard and it’s painful, we do understand that. It’s better to take small steps at first and eventually to get used to the walking aid.
  • Choose a good model of crutches especially for cases like yours, a broken ankle. The good news is that the market is full of various crutch models and there are plenty of them designed for medical cases like yours.
  • If you are not satisfied with the model you have bought for your broken ankle recovery, it’s better to replace it with a new one rather than suffering and experiencing discomfort and pain.
  • On mandatory, don’t rush with getting more experience with the crutches. If you feel a high level of pain or discomfort you can always postpone the first walk on crutches for later. During this period you are always free to use some assistants near you. Put the injured leg forward with the crutch held on the uninjured side (opposite). Bear weight on the injured leg and assisted with the crutches as needed. Step through with the uninjured leg.
  • Using the stairs might be frightening in the beginning. However, there’s a way to overcome your fear, as well as the obstacles safely and with no accidents. If there are no stair rails, you should better to ask for help or get the elevator. Though, if there is no possibility of that, don’t panic.

When you go up the stairs, hold onto the rail with one hand and the crutch with the other hand (or both crutches if no rail). When you, then, go down the stairs, place the injured leg and the crutches down on the step below; support weight by leaning on the crutch. Then, move the uninjured leg down. Now, with your weight supported by the crutches and injured leg, step down with the uninjured leg.

Have no worries to ask us more details about using crutches with a broken ankle!

Now, when you know how important it is to be careful when using crutches with a broken ankle, as well what the most appropriate occasions for performing such a movement are, you can make some tests on a flat surface at first and then, to try the procedure on the stairs.

Please, let us remind you that these are not recommendations from a real doctor and the material has only informative character.

If you have some questions to ask or information to receive whether specifically for the broken ankle intervention or for the recovery with crutches later, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always here to support and give you as many tips for fast and painless rehabilitation as possible.
Good luck!

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