When using one crutch (or cane, etc.) because one side is injured, it’s typically most helpful to use that one crutch on the non-injured side since arms swing opposite legs. Meaning, with normal gait, when your right foot goes forward, your left arm goes forward. Unweighting the injured side by putting some weight through a crutch on the opposite side thus ensures that you move as biomechanically normal as possible - which is important not only with respect to walking as efficiently as possible, but also in preventing other problems from walking like this. If your right lower extremity is injured and you use a crutch on your right arm then you’ll have to lean/sway much more to the right than you would normally. It’s also awkward and inefficient because you’ll have to move your right arm forward simultaneously with your right leg, which, as I pointed out, is unnatural.
Outside of post-surgical scenarios and fractures, it’s rare an orthopedic boot is necessary. I’ve seen them prescribed inappropriately many times. Severely restricting or eliminating movement to that extent with an immobilization boot is the last option for orthopedic disorders. For example, you don’t want to boot a tendinopathy! As I always say, it comes down to competent diagnosing.
Not only are patients often getting incorrect treatment for their ankle/foot complaints, but walking around on an uneven surface can disrupt other parts of the body. A boot can jack you up both literally (by an inch or more) and figuratively. It’s common for people to complain of knee, hip, or back symptoms because of walking around in a boot. For those who do need to wear a walking boot, I usually recommend buying something to attach to the other foot (such as an “Evenup Shoe Leveler”) to level the feet or simply wearing a higher shoe on the unaffected foot. -- Laura
If your foot/ankle needs to be immobilized and/or you can't walk on it, you have a few options. There are wheelchairs and crutches, but what fewer people know about are knee walkers (aka knee scooters or knee rollers). If you have the balance to manage them, they're a great way to get around quickly. Also, they don't take up too much space and don't require a lot of arm use like crutches do. Here is an example. -- Laura
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