How To Use Crutches Safely

  • Your crutches should be adjusted to your height before you use them.
  • While standing with the crutches slightly away from your feet, your elbows should be bent slightly (about 20-30 degrees)
  • The top part of the crutch should be about one inch below your armpit
  • Walk slowly and carefully
  • Do not rest crutches under your armpits
  • Remove loose rugs or other small objects that can cause tripping from the floor
  • Watch for water and oil on the ground, electric cords, bedspread corners, clothes and family pets
  • Use a night light in the bathroom, bedroom and halls
  • Deep, overstuffed chairs and chairs without arms are difficult to stand up from
  • Have someone walk with you your first few days until you feel steady on your feet, especially when you go up and down steps or are on uneven surfaces

Standing Up

  • Place crutches together on the stronger side, holding both hand grips in one hand
  • Push down on the crutches and chair arm
  • Stand on the stronger leg
  • Place one crutch under each arm to get ready to walk 

Sitting Down

  • Remove crutches from under your arms and place them on your weaker side
  • Place your other hand on the chair arm and sit, sliding the weaker leg in front of you


  • Place both crutches forward at the same time, about 6 to 8 inches out to the side and 12 inches in front
  • Advance your weaker leg between the crutches
  • Push down on the crutches as you move your stronger leg forward beyond the crutches

Going Up Stairs

  • Walk up close to the stairs
  • Place the foot of your stronger leg up on the first step
  • Put weight on hands, straighten the stronger leg, and bring up the weaker leg and crutches

Going Down Stairs

  • Walk up to the edge of the step
  • Place crutches on the first lower step
  • Place the foot of your weaker leg down on the first step
  • Put weight on hands and lower body to the step, bringing the stronger leg with you
  • Alternate method: both crutches may be held in one hand, and a hand rail substituted for one crutch


Disclaimer: TEXT This material provides general information only. It should not be used in place of the advice, instructions, or treatment given by your doctor or other health care professional.