A physical therapist or other health care provider will evaluate you and fit you for crutches or a walker. They’ll show you how to use this equipment safely and will make sure you’re able to keep your balance when walking. They’ll also teach you how much, if any, weight you can put on your foot, according to the orders given by your doctor.

  • Make sure you have well-fitted shoes with a low heel and nonskid surface.
  • If you are getting up out of a wheelchair, secure your brakes before moving from a sitting to a standing position. Don’t pull up on your walker, as it’s not stable.
  • Make sure you are close enough to feel the chair on the back of your legs before sitting.
  • Walk slowly and be aware of your environment and walking surfaces:
    • Remove area rugs
    • Reduce floor clutter
    • Be cautious when moving from smooth surfaces to carpeted or uneven surfaces
    • Use extreme caution when walking on slippery, wet or snowy surfaces
  • Be cautious when walking around family pets.
  • Ask for assistance if you are drowsy or dizzy.
  • Have someone help you get out of bed.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders for standing. (This is called your weightbearing status.)

If you aren’t comfortable on crutches or are afraid of falling, you might receive more physical therapy training. You might also be reassessed to see if a walker would work better for you.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.