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Help- advice on living with crutches.

(32 Posts)
Craftycat Fri 06-May-16 11:03:18

Very stupid little accident on Wednesday involving a kerb, a garden waste bin & a clumsy woman has led to broken bones in foot ( right one so I cannot drive) & a plaster cast .
I have never broken a bone before so this is a totally new experience for me.
I got the advice on how to walk with the crutches at the hospital but it's not that easy at all. Doesn't help that I have a rotator cuff impingement at the moment so one shoulder painful anyway.
I have got the swinging thing to walk but it's things like stairs & getting up & down steps that are foiling me. Tried going up stairs on bottom but they are quite deep & finished up crawling up as DGS does. That means plaster cuts painfully into back of leg. Coming down I just sort of slide- probably quite dangerous as I got quite fast this morning.
Other leg & arms & shoulders now hurt like hell. Is there a knack to all this??
Can't hoover, mop floors or take anything up or down stairs or even between rooms. I reckon I CAN iron if I get DH to put board down & move it next to a chair when he comes home from work. Phone is always in the room I'm not in - I may try hanging it on a ribbon round neck- tucked into bra right now but keeps falling out.

Really fed up.

However I DID manage to vote yesterday- went straight from hospital with wet plaster. Never missed in my life & wasn't going to this time.
Any tips on how I survive the next 6 weeks ( & yes I KNOW I'm very lucky it is only for 6 weeks & it WAS my own stupid fault)

Elegran Fri 06-May-16 11:35:18

Ooooh, nasty!

Solve the hoovering by getting a robot vacuum. Get DH to clear bits and pieces from the floor so that it can get all round the ground floor without going round shoes or catching rug fringes (that will make it easier for you to get around the place too). If DH carries it upstairs it can then go round the upstairs. DH can do the stairs.

Get Dh to make the bed and leave upstairs tidy and help you downstairs, then avoid going up there again until he can help. Is there a loo downstairs?

Hang a shoulder bag diagonally across your body to keep essentials like your phone in, and to carry stuff from room to room (won't work with cups of tea, you'll have to drink them in the kitchen - or fill a flask and keep it beside your chair)

Get your shopping online and have it delivered.

Leave the ironing. Life is too short.

Let DH put the bin out in future!

GandTea Fri 06-May-16 11:42:26

I found making a cup of tea difficult, how can you carry a cup with crutches ?
My answer was a shoulder bag and a flask, make tea, put in flask and use bag to carry it to my chair, same with anything else I needed to carry around (like the phone)

Charleygirl Fri 06-May-16 11:56:06

If you need more instruction re stairs, ring physio at your local hospital asap to make an appointment for Monday and ask them to order transport for you as DH is working. State that you cannot get into the rear of a car, you will have to sit in the front seat.

Do you have a computer chair or do you use a laptop? If the former you could use that in the kitchen to whiz you from sink to fridge or cooker.

The last time I used crutches my seat was average height but I still could not see into saucepans and I had problems getting around the kitchen.

Are you non weight bearing because that makes a difference and I have always found that very difficult.

Do not forget to elevate your leg when resting. Put a pillow or cushion on top of the chair/stool and do not forget to exercise your toes and bed your knee.

Good luck flowers

annodomini Fri 06-May-16 12:02:11

The physios wouldn't let me leave hospital after my hip replacement until I had mastered the art of going up and down stairs with crutches. Trust Youtube to have some advice!

SueDonim Fri 06-May-16 15:53:38

I had a double leg fracture a couple of years ago and was on crutches for weeks inc over Christmas with family and grandchildren here! My dh had to retire from his job to care for me as I was completely incapacitated - even needing help to go to the loo. blush

Your physio should have checked you can manage stairs safely before going home. That's v naughty of them not to have done that. Do check out helpful ideas on the Internet as there are lots of videos on how to achieve such things.

A back pack is useful for taking around your bits & bobs. Use one of those lidded cups that people use for drinking on the go for your cup of tea.

Online shopping saved my bacon regarding food. Menu planning was a great help. Get your dh to leave your lunch and any snacks ready in the fridge or if you've an insulated bag, keep them in there until you want to eat them.

Blow the housework for now. The dust will still be there when you're recovered!

Get well soon, it's a misery being hors de combat! flowers

tiggypiro Fri 06-May-16 16:33:46

Ask for a third crutch to leave upstairs. Use one crutch and the stair rail to go up and the 3rd crutch while you are up stairs. Leave one up and just use the stair rail and one crutch to come down. You do need 2 stair rails to be able to do this and personally I found it easier to go up on my bum and to have a stool at the top to heave myself onto before standing up. Coming down I sort of hopped using the crutch and rail to help.
I am amazed that you were not instructed how to manage stairs. However after saying that I did develop my own way of doing it !
Best of luck - it really is one of those 'life is a bugger' times. Don't feel too bad about it being your own fault - I managed to break my leg in 3 places by falling off my bike at a standstill !!

aggie Fri 06-May-16 17:44:36

I was a Physiotherapist and taught hundreds of people to go up and down stairs with crutches ......... fast forward ......... retired , fell , broken ankle , full leg plaster ..... the stairs were a NIGHTMARE , I did manage but came down in the am and went back up pm

Humbertbear Fri 06-May-16 17:56:35

My husband broke his foot and we moved the microwave and kettle into the dining room so he could make a cup of tea and warm the lunch I left for him.

granjura Fri 06-May-16 18:21:47

You poor thing- you really need one to one professional advice here, or your risk seriously hurting yourself. Because you are probably not allowed to weight bear and your shoulder problem, etc- its impossible to give general advice on a Forum like this. So please- ask for a visit and individual advice for your own circumstances.

Just about th put the crutches away and switch to one stick or my nordic sticks for longer walks, after knee replacement. I was allowed to weight bear from the start, increasingly, don't have shoulder or wrist problems, am strong, got shallow stairs and a DH who was able to help from the minute I came home (after 9 days)- so just can't imagine how you can cope without professional one to one help.

All the very best, stay safe.

granjura Fri 06-May-16 18:53:03

In my case, as I was allowed to weight-bear- the physiotherapist's short version of basic stair technique was 'down to hell on bad leg, up to heaven on the good one'- easy to remember.

Craftycat Sat 07-May-16 10:25:01

So much helpful advice- thank you all so much.
Feeling a bit brighter today- well DH home for 2 days to help out & have had a good cry!!! Always helps.

I can't weight-bear but I'm doing OK really. After getting carpet burns on bum I found a pair of just below knee trousers I can get on so that is OK. I have mastered a crawl upstairs that doesn't get cast digging into leg too pushing crutches ahead of me.
I got a LIMBO so I've been able to have a shower & wash my hair & colleague of DH is going to lend us a shower stool.
I have dug out a shoulder bag so carrying all my worldly possessions with me at all times- that was a great tip.
DS1 came round in afternoon & gave me some hints on using on crutches- he was on them for 8 weeks following a car accident some years ago & he is a wizz at them. It was good to spend some time alone with him too when all the lovely children were not demanding all my attention. DS2 is bringing children over sometime this weekend which will be nice too.
I have worked out how to get round kitchen by swinging between units so I really am getting there.
Everything else except bad foot hurts but that is inevitable as all these muscles have not been used like this before.
We only have a small cottage hospital here with an emergency dept. for over 18s so I doubt there was a physio to see but they are lovely & were very kind.
I'll see how I go over weekend when I have support & if necessary I will go back on Monday. I am now blagging lifts - I can get into front seat of car with seat pushed right back. I am always giving lifts to others so it's payback time. I have a very active life & out a lot both day & evening so I am going to have to curtail things a bit & read more. Thank Heavens for all this lovely sun- I am going to try weeding kneeling on a thick blanket later. I bet can!

Thank you all again- sorry I was so miserable.

Katek Sat 07-May-16 10:50:33

Have you got handles in shower? If not I can recommend those vacuum seal ones. Also try and get a kids' grabber thing, handy for picking things up and staying fairly vertical. You can buy the proper ones but kids' version is much cheaper. Argos also have a frame to go over the loo which will give you something to lever yourself up on. SIL is still on crutches after his biking accident so we've just been through buying all these things! Hope you feel a bit more positive today.

Katek Sat 07-May-16 10:52:16

Forgot to say that OT at hospital should be able to help out with aids or try local Red Cross

Craftycat Sat 07-May-16 11:04:52

Ooo- thanks for tip about flask too! Why did I not think of that.? When I make soup DH takes it to work in plastic sealed top cups- I've got loads of them!

Craftycat Sat 07-May-16 11:05:58

Grabber is great - DH has one that he chases GC with so I've nabbed that!

Juggernaut Sat 07-May-16 11:09:12

When I broke my foot (basically smashed it to bits) and was in a cast for 9 weeks, I hired a wheelchair from the Red Cross.
It meant DH could take me out when he was available, and I could self propel around the house.
The kitchen was a problem, but I learned to swing between units, so managed quite well.
Have you got a 'plaster of paris' cast, or a 'fibreglass' one? A fibreglass cast can be walked on as often as you want/need. It's tiring and balance is a slight problem, but it's much better, and a lot safer than using crutches on stairs!
If you want to weed the garden, only get down on a blanket if there's someone to help you back up, getting upright is a lot harder than you think if there's a non-bending ankle!

Synonymous Sat 07-May-16 11:34:29

So sorry to hear of your woes craftycat and hope your recovery is fast and sure. flowers
Do be very careful to do all that they tell you as broken bones in the foot are tricky things to heal well and there will never be a time when you won't want to use your feet.

DH has considerable experience with crutches. His advice for stairs is as follows:

Going up stairs:
Put crutch from Bannister side in other hand and using the Bannister to hold on and other crutch put your good foot on to first step. Then bring active crutch up on to first step, then bring bad foot on to first step.
Now that you have active crutch and both feet on first step move hand up Bannister and bring good foot on to second step followed by the active crutch and then bad foot and continue in this way. When you reach the top transfer the crutch back to Bannister side hand so you are back on two crutches.

Going downstairs:
Again transfer the Bannister side crutch into other hand then put the one crutch that you are using down on to first step while holding the Bannister with the other hand. Bring the good foot down first then the injured foot down and move hand down bannister continue down the stair in the order crutch, good foot, bad foot ensuring you don't let go of the Bannister and continue in this way.

Basically you are keeping your weight on your good foot all the time. Hope this helps. smile

DH's first time on crutches was on board ship - that was very interesting! hmm

Craftycat Sat 07-May-16 16:42:03

We've got a bannister on both sides but I'm too nervous to try yet. I can crawl up OK but I do get down on my bum holding bannisters. I'll try that method later.
It is difficult not to put foot down- I have had to it heel down on occasions. I lost it this afternoon & couldn't get back up step from garden. I did it several times yesterday. It's a confidence thing.
I'll be fine in a couple of days.

Charleygirl Sat 07-May-16 16:51:45

If desperate you could go upstairs on your rear end but backwards. The problem may be at the top of the stairs getting up. That would be my problem, you may be more nimble than I am which would not be difficult. You appear to be doing very well.

Be careful re the vacuum sealed handles for a shower because they are weight related and some will only tolerate eg 7-8 stone.

Nelliemoser Sat 07-May-16 17:37:50

Elegran you sound as if you are speaking from experience.
There are ways around this sort of thing, a length of rope to pull the crutch up after you?
I worry about vacuum sealed handles I would be very wary of using one.

Nelliemoser Sat 07-May-16 17:44:09

Craftycat I hope it heals OK.

Charleygirl Sat 07-May-16 18:08:48

Nelliemoser they are fine for applying light weight- I used to use mine post surgery to get up off the shower stool but I was careful not to apply much pressure

granjura Sat 07-May-16 18:21:31

Check vacuum handles every single time before getting in bath or shower- to ensure it's not come loose! Can't use them in the new bathroom as the modern tiles are not smooth- a bit more like slate.

Elegran Sat 07-May-16 18:32:24

No, Nellie not from experience but I used to know someone who was permanently on crutches. She didn't drive. She would go to the shops with two shoulder bags crossed over her front diagonally, and had paying down to a fine art - both crutches held in one hand while she fished in one shoulder bag with the other for her purse, then everything packed away and off she went. Her house keys were in the easiest pocket to get at. One shoulder bag was a portable life support system - purse, tissues, notebook and pencil, phone, bottle of water, everything she was likely to need.