Using crutches safely to avoid slip and fall accidents

A person may have to use crutches due to chronic conditions like amputated limbs or cerebral palsy that result in decreased range of motion, coordination and strength. Crutches may also be necessary if an individual suffers broken bones or other injuries that limit their ability to move. However, the very device that is designed to enable mobility during the recovery and healing period may cause a slip and fall accident if it is not used properly.

According to 2013 data from The University of California Disability Statistics Center, more than 6.5 million Americans use assistive devices including crutches, canes and walkers for chronic conditions. Around 10 million people use crutches temporarily due to injuries. In such circumstances, using an assistive device can enhance safety and independence while performing everyday activities.

However, navigating uneven surfaces or climbing stairs while using crutches can be challenging. The risk of slip and fall accidents can increase with slippery floors, uneven walkways, clutter on the floor and other such hazards. It is therefore important to consider a number of safety measures when using crutches.

Clear away rugs, cords or any other objects in the home that can cause one to trip or slip and fall. Use nonslip bath mats and install grab bars in the bathroom. Crutch users should also be extra cautious during slick weather conditions and avoid slippery stairways. They should also try to walk only in well-lit areas. Ensure the crutch’s rubber tips are clean and in good condition so that they have traction on various surfaces.

Implementing such simple safety modifications both inside and outside the home can help prevent slip and fall accidents when using walking aids. In addition, individuals should learn the proper ways to walk, sit, stand and use stairs while on crutches. Doctors will recommend crutches only if one has adequate balance and strength.