Leg surgery might be the main reason to appear in a non-weight bearing situation. Whether it is a surgery of your ankle or foot, the top thing you should consider right after you get outside of the hospital or medical center is how to continue your post-intervention recovery.
All medical specialists will advise you to go for a non-weight bearing solution. Usually, an orthopedic prescribes using a supportive accessory – either a walker or crutches.
Though, if you are left to make up your mind and decide on your own, you might be wondering which of these two options is better for you. Testing each of them – crutches or walker – is a good idea as just like the treatment, the rehabilitation is also always individual that leads to a personal decision any patient should make independently, guided by the doctor’s assistance and tips, no doubts.
In this material, we are going to offer you a bunch of tips you should consider when it comes to your overall non-weight bearing rehabilitation. On the other side, we will try to put at one place the strong and the weak points of using each of these means of recovery – crutches, and walker. In the end, you might be fully ready whether to test them the right way or to finally decide which one is better for you.
What is non-weight bearing and how to approach the recovery?
You will find the term of non-weight bearing in doctor’s prescriptions or even in books by the abbreviation N.W.B. in many cases. Basically, the diagnosis is typical for its restrictions placed on you immediately after surgery.
If you are in a non-weight bearing situation you might be recommended not put the surgically repaired foot on the floor. This typically means no weight whatsoever, not even for a second or two whether standing or seated. Remember – this recommendation is on mandatory, but not a tip that you can either consider or forget.
You might be now wondering why touching the ground is bad for your foot or ankle after the intervention. Here’s the answer you might have missed to realize during the period the anesthetic hasn’t gone for good yet.
There are lots of patients who are actually not able to correctly gauge how much weight they’re putting on a foot even if they’re just grazing the floor with it. Putting any weight on the foot or ankle that has been just operated might damage or injure the healthy food.
This is because all human bones need time to heal, especially after surgery. Plates or screws that may have been added during surgery need the bones to heal around them.
And if add weight too soon you might cause some serious interruption of your recovery process. Eventually, it’s not just the operated leg, but the healthy one can get damaged, injured or put into any other suffer and pain.
Last, but not least, we should mark that non-weight bearing recovery usually aims to prevent any swelling. And swelling is one of the top general and possible side effect after ankle or foot intervention.
If you succeed in preventing swelling of your operated leg, the recovery gets smoother and faster. Plus – the pain during the rehabilitation process is going to be settled to the minimum.
Sometimes, a patient with the proper non-weight bearing recovery gets rid of the painkillers almost immediately.
Using crutches for non-weight bearing
The most common option for non-weight bearing recovering patient is using crutches. You might be recommended them even during your post-surgery period in the hospital.
Rule number one to remember for this post-surgery period in the hospital – if you are given them for free there, take the most benefits of this at full value.
We mean use the crutches for non-weight bearing by testing them in different mobility situation.
As long as you consider they are not fine, you might have your own decision – crutches or walker – in the hospital. This is how you are going to avoid the double purchase of accessory for mobility (you’ll simply save both: money and time).
In addition to these, get recommended by the medical experts what’s the best way to use crutches for non-wearing bearing. Though, if you have already missed this part, below we have our own tips for the case:
1. Simply don’t go too hard too soon with the crutches for non-bearing. There’s a big possibility to experience pain that is normal for the post-intervention period. You might consider the crutches are to blame, but it’s just your wrong approach or the normal recovery phase after surgery.
2. Crutches are compatible with active physical recovery. However, too many or the wrong exercise might overburden the other leg or the rest zones of your body. Later, when you get on your crutches for non-bearing you might feel extreme pain or tiredness.
3. When you try to sit, be sure that the chair is as close as possible. Think about the balance and take the crutches of your arms. Then, grab both of the crutches in one hand and lower your body slowly on the seat zone.
4. Now, let’s stand by getting the crutches with one hand only and the pushing up on the arm of the chair. When standing up, don’t forget to slip your arms via the clasps.
5. What you have to remember as to walking with the crutches for a non-weight bearing is that the pads and cushions on mandatory. Missing these important accessories will eventually make you hate the crutches. Yet, crutches are in many cases the top ideal decision for non-weight bearing recovery.
6. When using the stairs never forget that you should always start a step or a movement with your healthy leg. Always slow down the speed when you have to transfer the injured leg by pushing harder on your crutches for a non-weight bearing.
7. Last, but not least, if you have any complains or hesitations as to the crutches for non-weight bearing, there’s a big possibility for you to have missed the adjustment part. The best check is to make sure that you are able to lift two fingers under your arm always when you are at a standing position.
Using a walker for non-weight bearing
Lots of medical experts might prescribe a walker for a better solution for a non-weight bearing. If you are in this list, the information below might be extremely helpful for your rehabilitation.
It’s, of course, essential to start the recovery with a proper adjustment of the walker. What we recommend you is the following: let your doctor does this job. The adjustment basically depends on the patient’s personal height and the stage of the recovery as many patients are in a hospital for longer before going back home.
Meanwhile, the best check if the adjustment of the walker for a non-wearing bearing is to feel if the walker isn’t too far from you. Remember – the less difficult to bear movements you do, the less pressure you are going to perform on your healthy leg, so the recovery will get faster.
The first steps on the walker for non-weight bearing are truly tough. You shouldn’t give up on the walker from this very first moment, but on the contrary – try to “sense” the way walking with the walker for a non-weight bearing is like and costs you as efforts.
Bear your body’s weight on your straightened arms and keeping your sore leg in the air. Try to move smoothly forward with your better foot with your toes landing in the center of the imaginary square of the walker’s 4 legs.
And here’s one warning for those of you who have decided to choose the walker rather than the crutches for non-weight bearing – never hop, but step! It’s important to let the healthy leg rest when being mobile as sometimes, patients forget that right now after the surgery this healthy leg bears the entire hardness.
The step should be an easy and graceful move rather than a quick hop that has more impact and may throw you off balance. And balance is important not only for crutches users but for all after surgery recovering people, including those who have decided to move with a walker.
Now, when you know the top specifications and tips to consider as to both accessories for rehabilitation after an ankle or foot surgery the non-weight bearing will be definitely smooth and problem-free. Never forget to visit your personal doctor for more tips and prescriptions if you are told to or if you feel a need for such a visit.
Getting rid of both: Walker or the crutches for a non-weight bearing is quite close. Make the whole process as safe as possible to shorten the period for rehabilitation, as well as to reduce the risk of additional and eventual traumas, mainly of your healthy leg.
Be strong and use your walker or crutches for non-weight bearing as reasonable as possible. That moment to have your hands free while walking is close!