It's easy to imagine that you will get by without walking aids after knee surgery, but the last thing you will want to do is to slip!

This section will teach you how to use crutches properly, and how to sit and stand when on crutches.

You will find extra resources at the bottom of the page.




Today’s challenge is about getting around after your surgery, but really the process needs to start sometime before surgery. When you are bandaged, splinted and uncomfortable is not really the occasion to be introduced for the first time to the complexities of crutches.

So our Challenge today is for you to sit on a chair without arms, hold your one leg straight and keep it off the floor, and then try to stand up unaided. Do this near a wall or table, just for your own security in case you need to grab for support.

The first thing you may notice is that your ‘good’ leg may not be all that strong in lifting you up into a straight position. It is the quads muscle of the lap that does this work of straightening the leg, and the quads of the good leg as well as the bad can become weak when activity has been reduced.

The second thing you may notice is that chair arms would have made the exercise easier, as your upper limbs would have helped you to push upright. So arm strength, hand grip and leg strength need to be optimised before you are presented with crutches.

Check the chairs in your house and see if you have a sturdy one, with good strong arms, and try the exercise again, shuffling forwards on the chair before attempting to rise, and using the chair arms to help to lift up your body. If you do not have such a chair, you may think to add it to your shopping list from yesterday. 

If and when you have crutches, you will put the one hand on the chair arm and the other on the crutches ‘arm’, holding both crutches together in your left hand while you do this. Underarm crutches can be held together, while with elbow crutches you make the crutches face each other so that they form an ‘H’ and grasp the centre of the H when you lift up. This will mean that as soon as you are upright, you will have both crutches already available, and you can pass the one crutch over to your free hand.

Add to your shopping list also a couple of deep umbrella stands, to keep handy next to your bed, and chair and by the toilet - because crutches have an annoying habit of falling over! 

Check the Resources list below this video and you will find links to several others, and a checklist of things that may be helpful for you.



Checklist about being well prepared to manage walking aids - to download and print

How to use crutches properly

How to use crutches - Non-weight-bearing

How to walk with elbow crutches