How to Walk with Crutches Non Weight Bearing
You injured your leg and your physician put you under non-weight bearing restrictions. When the panic of the injury settles, you quickly realize you need to set up your physical therapy, find an assistive device, and figure out how to walk with crutches while non-weight bearing. Although seemingly daunting at first, surviving non-weight bearing restrictions is possible and with the right assistance can be quite simple.
Maintaining your autonomy after an injury relies heavily on an efficiently set up home environment and carefully chosen mobility aids that will facilitate versus hinder your functional recovery. Life carries on after an injury and you need to as well. Follow along as we discuss how to navigate non-weight bearing restrictions, recommend mobility aids, and review tips and tricks to get you back on your feet in no time.
What does non-weight bearing mean?
When a physician orders weight-bearing restrictions, it can mean a number of things. Clarifying your weight-bearing status is vital to protecting your injured limb and streamlining the healing process.
In general, there are five primary types of weight-bearing restrictions. Each varies in the amount of pressure allowed through the affected limb and is often correlated to the acuity or severity of the injury.
In full weight-bearing, the individual is allowed to place their full weight through the affected limb. This full weight-bearing designation applies to standing, walking, stair negotiation, and balancing activities.
Weight-bearing, as tolerated
In this classification, individuals are encouraged to place as much weight through the limb as they can tolerate. Pain is typically the limiting factor but with time and practice, increasing levels of weight-bearing will be tolerated.
Touch-down weight-bearing refers to the weight-bearing designation in which the patient is allowed to place their foot down for balance in static standing or sitting but cannot bear any load through the limb during active movement or walking.
Partial weight-bearing refers to any load-bearing appointment greater than non-weight bearing and less than full weight-bearing. Oftentimes a physician will assign 25%, 50%, or 75% partial weight-bearing with progressively increasing loads to prepare the limb for a return to full weight-bearing.
Non-weight bearing refers to no weight allowed through the affected limb during both static and dynamic activities and is the most strict of the weight-bearing designations.
Tips to enhance safety while non-weight bearing
When you are non-weight bearing, a few essential tips can keep you safe and protected both at home and on the go.
- Remember that non-weight bearing is meant to protect you. It is a restriction, not a suggestion so follow your orders to expedite healing and keep yourself safe.
- Set up your environment for efficiency. Place frequently used objects within arm's reach, remove any unneeded throw rugs or tripping hazards, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- Take your time. Accidents typically happen when people are feeling stressed or rushed. Your body is adjusting to new challenges so give yourself some grace and a little extra time to get the job done.
- Listen to your body. Pain is protective and will tell you when something is wrong. Rest when you can, elevate your injured leg as needed, and focus on recovery.
How to walk with crutches, non-weight bearing?
When assigned a non-weight bearing status, the first order of business is getting an assistive device that will allow you to get around. With most traditional crutches, canes, and walkers, weight is offloaded through the arms, wrists, and hands and into the device. The patient is taught to advance the device, then move the injured limb forward by performing a single leg hop on the unaffected leg. Although crutches effectively unload the affected limb, these devices can leave your hands tied up and your arms fatigued, making everyday tasks like carrying a cup of coffee, cooking dinner, or lifting your child a serious challenge.
So how do I choose the right assistive device?
Choosing the right assistive device comes down to finding a product that maximizes your functional independence. If you’re trying without avail to go up and down the stairs with crutches or feeling fatigued from prolonged crutch use, maybe traditional crutches aren’t the right answer for you. Consider instead a hands-free crutch alternative, such as the Freedom Leg, that gives you the freedom to move and maintain your non-weight bearing restrictions without any upper extremity involvement.
Side effects of traditional crutches
Traditional crutches, while practical in their ability to offload a lower extremity, leave many users with unneeded struggles and side effects. Besides limiting upper extremity use, traditional crutches can often lead to overuse injuries in the wrists and hands and neurological damage to the axillary region. Assistive devices are meant to assist, not restrict and the truth is as a medical community, we can do better. While products like the iwalk allow hands-free functioning, the Freedom Leg opens up opportunities for individuals with foot and ankle injuries as well as knee injuries.
Benefits of Freedom Leg
The Freedom Leg is the first of its kind, using durable materials and medical engineering to seamlessly offload the affected limb while simultaneously promoting independent mobility. Its hands-free design uses custom aluminum side rails and a multi-point suspension system to transfer force from the ground, past your affected body part, and up through your proximal leg. With multiple points of adjustment and comfortable for all sizes, the Freedom Leg can accommodate almost any body type and lower extremity injury.
Cruise up the stairs in a breeze and complete daily tasks without the hassle of juggling crutches or a walker. Forget trying to walk with crutches while non-weight bearing and instead walk with the hands-free freedom you deserve. Protect your limb, free up your upper body, and dive back into life with the Freedom Leg.
Ready to learn more? Check out the Freedom Leg for yourself today!
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"Family Physician, had to have both of his feed repaired and found Freedom Leg very helpful, allowing him freedom to continue particing medicine and even running his snow blower"
"Broke his ankle and had to have surgery. The surgeons put screws in his ankle and told him not to put weight on it for 90 days. He was prescibed crutches. Fortunately he discoved Freedom Leg while looking for alternatives on the internet and was able to walk again without difficulty"