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Author Topic: Advice for getting off crutches please?  (Read 6481 times)

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Offline glasgowgirl

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Advice for getting off crutches please?
« on: September 27, 2007, 02:33:45 PM »
I had a high tibial osteotomy back at the end of May, 18 weeks ago.
I was non weight bearing for 6 weeks post op and then was on crutches for a further 11 weeks after that. So in total I was on my crutches for 17weeks.
I saw the surgeon last week and he wants me to only use one crutch now and reduce quickly to not using any.
I've been doing that for the last week, but am finding it so much more painful now than ever. I had managed to totally reduce the painkillers but since last week, I've had to increase them again.
I'm just worried that I am not coping very well with just one crutch and am feeling a bit down about it. I can't imagine being able to walk 'normally' again. I'm really keen to be getting back to my work, but can't do that until I'm off the crutches. I saw occupational health today and they are going to refer me to physios through work as I'm not getting any post-op physio from the hospital.
If anyone can offer any advice what else I could or should be doing I'd really appreciate it. 

Offline tanyap

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2007, 03:40:15 PM »
glasgowgirl, i dont know anything about the type of procedure you have had done but after reading your post two things come to mind:

1: You should be getting physio if you need it - is it normal not to have post op physio for your procedure?

2: If you cant manage to drop straight from 2 crutches to 1 do it bit by bit, go to 1 crutch for some of the day for a few days, then more of the day etc... Crutches are as much a pyschological tool as a physical one, but if you have a dramatic increase in pain you need to do it bit by bit.
1986 - recurrent dislocations of right patella began
1988 - Modified Hauser Procedure
1991 - dislocations started again
2005 to 2007 - 150 dislocations in 2 years - OUCH!!!
June 2007 - new OS, new physio
Oct 2007 - VMO woke up
Mar 2008 - big quads, still dislocating
Apr 2008 - next OS app

Offline EMTSgirlfriend

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007, 08:20:44 AM »
Weening yourself off of crutches after going 17 weeks is difficult. One of the things you have to bear in mind is that your muscles have atrophied with all your inactivity. It's possible that is part of the problem. I think the last post was a good idea, to kind of alternate for a while to get yourself used to being on one crutch. Just make sure you set a schedule and stick with it, and don't allow yourself too much time with the two crutches! :)  You will be able to walk again, it just takes time!
Live everyday with hope!

Offline glasgowgirl

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2007, 03:49:19 PM »
Thank you! Thanks for your comments. I'm going to try the weening suggestion.
I'm sticking with it. The surgeon suggested going straight from 2 to none in the house which I thought was totally unrealistic but I really do beleive he was trying to be encouraging and didn't actually expect it to be instant. I'm just frustrtated and want to be able to do normal things again without having to judge it against how far I can walk before I get sore.
Also, stairs are still really difficult - anyone else experienced this? I think we must have extra tall steps - the ones at my flat are much easier but here at my parents home they seem much more steep.

Offline paganmom

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2007, 12:08:51 AM »
glasgowgirl, are you in physio? If not, you probably want to talk to your OS about it.

I was NWB for 7 weeks and started physio 1.5 weeks ago. I still use crutches and my leg brace and it is slow, slow going. I alternate throughout the day, depending on how I feel.

Mornings, I usually just have my brace on and keep crutches nearby. By 10, I'm usually on one crutch and by noon, back to both. It is a very slow process and I have the pain too.

Hang in there and don't give up!

Offline EMTSgirlfriend

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 04:17:58 AM »
Also, stairs are still really difficult - anyone else experienced this? I think we must have extra tall steps - the ones at my flat are much easier but here at my parents home they seem much more steep.

LOL I get nervous eye twitch whenever I see stairs! When my knees are quasi behaving, shorter steps are difficult, but unfortunately you're right, steps come in all kinds of shapes and sizes! I tried to visit my grandmother's home, and there are 2 steps to get onto her porch.  These things look like they're 5 stories high, when in reality they are only about 14-16 inches or so....but I can't get up them in my crutches :P

Good Luck!
Live everyday with hope!

Offline uufan

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2007, 05:26:33 AM »
I never was able to use cane ore one crutch.  Just went from 2 crutches to nothing in one week.  Made sorry attempt to use cane, never was able to do it.  You body will tell you when you ready.  I would not force it, but will know.  I was put back on crutches for few days becouse hardware removal, but lost them after a day.  OS can not force you, but mine was correct in the way it went.  By the time that he started to push me to loose them i was ready, he also told me that I do not realy need a cane.
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OS told me to loose crutches
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OS said that i will never walk independemtly(not true)

Offline glasgowgirl

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2007, 04:13:29 PM »
Thanks for all the comments so far. I reallly appreciate you taking the time to reply to me.
I think I'm getting better and trying really hard to walk about the house without my crutches which is going okay. I have a very noticable limp though - do you think I'm being unreasonable expecting this to go away?
I've been referred to physio through work so am hoping this will help get me back to work soon.


Offline tanyap

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2007, 04:16:20 PM »
As your rehab progresses you should get less limpy.
Have you started physio yet?
1986 - recurrent dislocations of right patella began
1988 - Modified Hauser Procedure
1991 - dislocations started again
2005 to 2007 - 150 dislocations in 2 years - OUCH!!!
June 2007 - new OS, new physio
Oct 2007 - VMO woke up
Mar 2008 - big quads, still dislocating
Apr 2008 - next OS app

Offline glasgowgirl

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2007, 03:49:22 PM »
No - I'm waiting for that appointment date to come through. Should be quick though seeing as I work in the hospital and it's a staff referral. I hope...!

Offline tanyap

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2007, 04:12:55 PM »
Excellent - you should start making much more progress when you get going with the physio.
1986 - recurrent dislocations of right patella began
1988 - Modified Hauser Procedure
1991 - dislocations started again
2005 to 2007 - 150 dislocations in 2 years - OUCH!!!
June 2007 - new OS, new physio
Oct 2007 - VMO woke up
Mar 2008 - big quads, still dislocating
Apr 2008 - next OS app

Offline SWYZ721

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2007, 04:03:59 AM »
You shouldn't go from 2 crutches to no crutches

and

you shouldn't go from 2 crutches to 1 crutch.


What you should do is start the day with 2 crutches and slowly start to plant your bad leg (don't weight bear) but plant it, and go through the motion of walking with it, as if you didn't have any crutches. It is IMPERATIVE that your re-learns the correct motions, that your foot and stride is symmetrical to your good leg. Your legs strides need to be equal, otherwise you will be setting yourself ip for hip/back/knee/ankle/foot pain later in life. Basically make sure your legs are as symmetrical as possible. People have a tendency to guard or walk around their injuries in order to prevent pain. This is incorrect use of your body and while you're young it doesn't hurt but it will wear your body abnormally, and increase the chances of further/additional injuries.

So as you are going through the walking motions while placing the weight on the crutches, slowly transition and start to place small amounts of weight on your bad leg, and slowly, more and more, put weight on the leg. It needs to be a transition, not an abrupt change. Keep going until basically, you're walking and holding crutches. It will look stupid, and people might think you're crazy because you're walking and holding crutches but this is the best way.

Also, just because at the end of the day you are walking, doesn't mean that tomorrow you can ditch the crutches. Your ligaments and joints are stiff, and your muscles are weak, inefficient and uncoordinated. If you are walking at the end of the day because you are warmed up enough and your body is loose, the next day the muscles will be fatigued and you will be cold, so in the morning at least you will need your crutches again. You need to keep using your crutches and "warm up" before you go crutchless. This may take 2-4 weeks maybe more because you have been on crutches for a very long time.

Good luck, and remember form and coordination is key to not wearing out your joints abnormally soon.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 05:09:49 PM by SWYZ721 »
Aug. 29, 2005 - ACL/MCL/Meniscusl Rupture
Oct. 27, 2005 - ACL Recon. (Patellar)

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Offline DeniseC

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 04:35:54 AM »
It takes a looong time to get back to what we call normal!  Pay attention to your body, give yourself time, and I agree with the poster who said that your muscles need time to strengthen and get used to being coordinated again.  I used a cane for awhile, had crutches after arthroscopy (even though some folks never needed them I did), progressed from two to one, then a cane...and then as I got stronger through Physical therapy the cane became a nuisance and I dropped it.  Psychologically I needed it, and then got past it.  Don't let the OS' implied judgement about not needing crutches get you.  In my experience, OS' may be good at surgery but are not experts on rehab.  I actually had one say to me that my rehab would be fine if I just put a weight on my ankle and walked around with it!
1/2005 first meniscectomy
6/2005 second one
severe osteoarthritis both knees
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2/27/08 bilateral TKR's plus a bonus emergency arterial graft
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Offline kathat

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2007, 12:00:37 PM »
Hi,
Just another bit of info I have picked up around the place (I have posted it around here somewhere too) - it takes about as long to regain muscle strength as it did to lose it in the first place. So if you have been on crutches for 17 weeks, then it could be up to 17 weeks to regain the strength you had in your legs before starting on crutches. This doesn't mean it will take 17 weeks to ditch them, but it will take a while. Paul had some fantastic advise too - keep using two crutches and slowly but surely increase the weight you put through your bad leg, AND ensure your good leg does "normal" walking motions too, as you have probably just been swinging it through along with your bad one. Both legs need time to build up the muscle that's atrophied while you've been using crutches. Physio will help enormously. OS' are the surgery specialists, physios are better for the rehab part. Good luck!
Kathy

Offline glasgowgirl

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Re: Advice for getting off crutches please?
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2007, 02:58:32 PM »
Thank you for that.

I've got my physio appointment this Thursday so I'm really looking forward to hearing what they have to say about me.

Still trying to cut down to not using the crutches in the house, but finding it difficult and frustrating, and walking with a big limp some of the time. 

Went to the supermarket with my mother this morning and managed 10 mins walking on both crutches before I was hot and sweaty and needing the seat. Felt really down about it but trying to stay positive.

I think the fact that the first surgeon I saw told me I'd only be off work 3 months and now I'm approaching 5 months is playing on my mind and making me feel that maybe I'm not doing enough to help myself. The surgeon who did the operation never mentioned any timescale and I didn't think to ask at the time. I guess I just thought he'd say 3 months too.















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