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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Bend
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    440

    Living well on crutches

    I'm a week in on crutches, and have had plenty of time to think about how to make my life easier. Thought some other gimped-out mags could benefit. If you have any others, add to the list!

    1. Get a small backpack, messenger bag, or fanny pack (!) and keep it with you all the time. Mine has a phone, wallet, keys, lip balm, meds, water bottle, and room for random things I need to carry from one place to another.

    2. Get a disabled parking permit as soon as possible.

    3. If anyone offers you help with anything, take it. Those 10 steps you save on the crutches could be used for something you have to do on your own later.

    4. Do your grocery shopping at a mega-store with electric scooters. They are awesome!

    5. If you have a dog, you won't be going on any leashed walks anytime soon. Thank you dog parks! Just make sure you don't crutch through dog poo... eew.

    6. Keep your body moving. This is as important for your mental health as it is for maintaining your physical health. Swimming is a great way to get exercise with a broken body.

    7. Drive-thrus! Drive-thrus! We have quite a few here in Bend: Prescriptions, thai food, ATM's.... these are a lifesaver if you are exhausted from crutching around everywhere.

    8. And for the win... get your mom to come take care of you! I just bought her a plane ticket, she will be here in a little over a week. Can't wait!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    9,014

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Den/Baltimore
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    5,126
    ^^ Good call!

    Yeah, vibes Linds-o-rama. Crutches suck. I spent over a month on crutches at school once and a couple weeks a different time. Carrying food was the hardest, particularly cuz all they had were trays at the cafeteria. (Carrying something perfectly horizontal is nearly impossible while crutching correctly.) Drive-thru sounds like a grand idea.

    Learn and be diligent about walking correctly with them. I have chronic wrist tendinitis from rock climbing, and I had to make sure that I did my exercises and stretching diligently to avoid wrist pain.

    One of the hardest problems for me was the isolation that I felt on crutches. Try to make it a point to get friends involved with your life - have them over for dinner or whatever. It will make the time go much faster and you'll forget about the stupid pain and inconvenience of your injury. For me, I found it was better to read or study at a coffee shop instead of just hanging out alone in my room. Just having people around seemed to help. Also, try to limit your TV and computer exposure when you're really feeling bad. That shit will make you crazy. Read, knit, play cards, etc instead of just zoning out in front of the tube. Mental activity need not drop just because you can't do physical activity.

    On the plus side, you will learn patience and focus. I found a 6 week liquid diet was way easier than a month on crutches. Good luck!
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    one of those gaper mountain towns
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    2,972
    X2 on staying active and around people!

    I know I've got a bit of a pre-disposition to depression so activity and social interaction is key! I've been hitting the PT pretty hard, but even that becomes boring after a while. I'm married, so that's at least one person who will spend time with me unsolicited. I do have access to a rec center pool, and I think my incisions have healed enough that I can actually get in the water now, so that will be next on the agenda.

    I stopped into a bike shop I used to work for on Friday and the owner asked me if I can do some wrenching for him two days a week starting in March! That's on top of my 4 day a week dispatching gig. Don't think I'm going to have too much opportunity for boredom or depression for a while.

    Not sure how standing and working on bikes is going to affect my new knee, but I can wrench pretty well from a shop stool in a pinch. The biggest challenge at this point is going to be not spending my entire paycheck on new bike parts!

    I guess that I was lucky in that I wasn't really on crutches long enough for it to be a major obstacle, although I will add that a shopping cart makes a hell of a walker in a pinch! I'm still finding odd items, remotes, chips, dog treats, etc. in various fleeces and sweats pockets from the brief time I spent on crutches, but the dogs and I see these as found treasure and cause for celebration! The backpack idea is also a good one and if you don't own one and are going to be spending any length of time on crutches, I highly recommend!

    That crutch mount beverage holder is money! I could really have used one of those a couple of months ago when I was out in the yard trying to avoid dog poop...
    Last edited by bendtheski; 02-19-2012 at 10:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ilovetoskiatalta View Post
    Dude its losers like you that give ski bums a bad rap.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    29,676
    Remember to use your arms and not rest your weight all the time with the crutch punching into your armpits. It'll wear on you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    9,014
    ^and very bad for you. Good call. Not a lot of first timers understand this!
    Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    ANC / ADQ
    Posts
    2,617
    I just got off crutches, been on 'em for the last ~4 months, this last Saturday from 2 ankle surgeries.

    -Grow some calluses on your hands, read: get tougher, you will adapt

    -Keep doing the same things you like to do, i.e. don't rely on drive-thrus and old fat people methods of living etc.

    -Go Outside! even if it's just to drive around and hobble over to a rock to look at the world

    -Swim and think about other ways to exercise, I got one of these and you can do a surprisingly large number of routines with one good leg
    (it's a hell of a lot more workout than it looks)
    http://www.amazon.com/Lifeline-USA-J...9761060&sr=8-1

    -Be a friend

    -BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    Remember to use your arms and not rest your weight all the time with the crutch punching into your armpits. It'll wear on you.
    IME what will happen is you will completely fcuk your shoulder which will require a much longer rehab than your leg ...possibly as much as 2yrs

    if you got the wooden crutches make sure you got them adjusted low enough so you are straight arming the weight you put on them with locked elbows and only use the pads to keep your sticks from bruising the rest of your body ... NEVER rest any weight on your shoulder joint

    Customize the crutches because you can't carry anything in yer hands using crutches so screw or tape a cup holder to your crutches, if you need to carry paper work screw a big springclamp to your crutches to grip whatever, I had a manager who made a leg rest that folded inwards so if he was standing talking to you he could fold out the rest and put his knee on it

    most important ... wait the full 10 weeks non-weight bearing

    when they say you are allowed to bear weight you will be as weak as a kitten, start bearing weight while using the crutches as helpers/out riggers for a few days till you no longer suck at walking unassisted ... it would suck to get hurt again stumbling off a curb or in a pot hole

    walking down stars will suck for awhile

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bend
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    440
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    if you got the wooden crutches make sure you got them adjusted low enough so you are straight arming the weight you put on them with locked elbows
    This got me in trouble... my elbows were killing me after only a day on crutches. After a little google action, I learned that you should always have your elbows bent when crutching... don't lock them out! After a adjusted my handles a little higher, no more elbow issues.

    All your other advice is solid and Linds-approved!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
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    The 2nd time I broke a leg/ankle I may have errored on the too-short end of the spectrum when I shortened the sticks way up BUT the locked elbows didn't bother me and it was way better than the 1st time when I kacked a shoulder for 2yrs ...just don't lean on the pads under your armpits

    And BTW you can still get drunk & dance while on crutches eh?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Bend
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    you can still get drunk & dance while on crutches eh?
    Oh yes, for sure!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gates of Hell
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    4,738
    Learn to hop on your good leg. I was on crutches for 8 months after a nasty tib/fib frx and compartment syndrome. After a couple of months I figured out that crutches are a huge hassle and complete waste of time. I'd hop around to get around the house and it left both hands free. You'll probably want to bring the crutches when you venture outdoors.

    Forearm crutches are pretty cool too, and you get a good upper body workout.

    Oh, there is one thig you definitely need - a hospital urinal bottle so you don't have to get up to take a piss in the middle of the night. Greatest invention ever. I'd still have one if the Mrs would tolerate it.
    Going where the wind don't blow so strange
    Maybe on some high cold mountain range

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Bellingham
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    1,694
    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    Remember to use your arms and not rest your weight all the time with the crutch punching into your armpits. It'll wear on you.
    Quote Originally Posted by systemoverblow'd View Post
    ^and very bad for you. Good call. Not a lot of first timers understand this!
    Beat me to it.My good friend who is a retired PTherapist saw me and right away took my crutches away and readjusted them so I didn't have them pushing into my armpits. Blood flow and nerves don't need that excessive pressure. She also raised the hand holds so my arms would be bent.

    I used both crutches for most of the eight weeks my left leg had to be locked straight. I didn't need them that whole time but it really helped keep my back straighter. Clumping around with the straight leg around the house was ok but walking any distance did my low back no good at all. My first big walks on crutches were at the off leash dog park on the easy trails. Kai was incredibly happy to be back in the woods! So was I!

    Good thing it was my left knee and my car is an automatic. I could drive anywhere and was very entertaining to watch getting in and out of the driver seat. I used my wife's disability placard with no guilt whatsoever.

    Today is six months since surgery so I get to ski tomorrow! Groomers only says my ortho, ok, groomers covered by new pow coming up. Baker here I come. I'm excited.

    Patience and no mistakes are the key to success. Keep having fun and I hope you get back sooner than later.
    In drove this drunken madman and stopped on a dime! Unfortunately the dime was in Mr. Rococo's pocket!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bend
    Posts
    440
    Quote Originally Posted by fiddler View Post
    Today is six months since surgery so I get to ski tomorrow! Groomers only says my ortho, ok, groomers covered by new pow coming up. Baker here I come. I'm excited.
    Right on! Ski clean, stay away from the gapers, and enjoy those fluffy groomers... seriously, 3" on groom is the perfect recovery ski.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Somewhere else
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    Thanks for this thread. I'm 6-8 weeks on crutches and I've never had them before... good tips in here.
    Goal: ski in the 2018/19 season

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    1,647
    I am on crutches again this week and next. Woke up to drive to class this morning and there was a surprise foot of snow to walk through and scrape off my car... So I said NOPE! and emailed my professors then made a sandwich and napped.

    Something I have always done with crutches: Put felt on the bottom, and not only do they grip better on snow, they are quieter, and feel gentler with every step.

    Also, in addition to the backpack, a belt.

    For extra crutch comfort, I like to wrap a pair of wool socks around the top of the crutch, then fasten with duct tape, and a smooth layer of packaging tape. The packaging tape really helps cut down on underarm chaffing.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    7
    I have chronic wrist tendinitis from rock climbing, and I had to make sure that I did my exercises and stretching diligently to avoid wrist pain.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    15
    I spent over a month on crutches at school once and a couple weeks a different time. Carrying food was the hardest, particularly cuz all they had were trays at the cafeteria. (Carrying something perfectly horizontal is nearly impossible while crutching correctly.) Drive-thru sounds like a grand idea.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Cyburbia & Tahoe, CA
    Posts
    4,472
    If the pads for the hands and/or armpits are gross, useless or just bug you, buy some padded bicycle handlebar tape and re-do them. I did this on my old crutches when I couldn't find decent replacement pads. It looked cool and worked better than the latex that was on there. I ended up with a smaller diameter hand rest that was equally well padded but easier to handle.

    I can't find the kind of ice spikes that I once had for crutches, but this looks like a pretty good alternative. http://www.amazon.com/Retractable-Sn.../dp/B005H7B078

    **
    I'm a cougar, not a MILF! I have to protect my rep! - bklyn

    In any case, if you're ever really in this situation make sure you at least bargain in a couple of fluffers.
    -snowsprite

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    805
    Good thread bump. Iíve been on crutches for 6 days now. Gonna be a very long time before I can put any weight on my right leg.
    Surgery on my fibula next week.

    Gotta look into that urinal bottle. Iím so slow Iím barely making it to the bathroom at night.

    Paperwork clip sounds legit.

    Cupholder sound sketch. Anyone really crutch around with a cup from the coffee shop?

    Dog and I basically moved in with mom and dad. Be good to your parents! Thatís the best advice in here.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    North,NorthEast
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    2,557
    Never saw this thread until now, thanks tgr search. Coming up on 9 weeks on crutches now, hoping only a few more weeks ( type 5 tibial plateau fracture )... Iíll add to the tips and techniques -

    - learn to be somewhat dependent on others ( this was a tough one for me )

    - like mentioned, do what you can for exercise. I ended up buying a weight bench. I can crutch over to it, lay down and do a bunch of bench presses. Feels like good exercise and makes you feel good when you canít move much.

    - essentials - small backpack, yeti or clean canteen water bottle with a handle, splats spooge, edibles, shower chair

    -remove any little rugs around the house. Those things are death traps to you now.


    The felt on the bottom of the crutch sounds sketchy, they would slide all over the place on hardwood floor.

    Good luck with your surgery Oregondead. Theyíll hook you up with the pee bottle in the hospital. Ask for a shiny new one to take home.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    truckee
    Posts
    11,071
    I had six weeks toe touch weight bearing for an acetabular fracture. I went with walker because crutches were too hard with my T spine fracture and bunch of broken ribs. Now the ribs are healed, the hip is healed, the back is healed, and my shoulder is killing me. I tried to do too much--crutches or walker don't do any more than you have to, especially if you're old.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    18,406
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    North,NorthEast
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    2,557
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    I love the picture of the guy mowing his lawn with it. On a slope no less. That canít be as enjoyable as it looks

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    50 miles E of Paradise
    Posts
    8,427
    Was on crutches after surgery for Achilles rupture. Was a danger to myself and others. Maggot gepmeow loaned me his knee scooter which was way mo bettah.

    He also loaned me his iWalk. Takes a while to get strapped in and uneven ground is more of an adventure than I’d like. I’m more mobile on the knee scooter, even though I have the thing up on two wheels a lot.
    Check Out Ullr's Mobile Avalanche Safety Tools for iOS and Android
    www.ullrlabs.com

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