Accidents wait for none! They could result in something as insignificant or short-lived as a scratch on your knee, or you could end up with crutches.
Living with crutches can be a significant setback, but it should not stop you from undertaking your fitness routine. There are several exercises that you can work out with, even while being held back by crutches!
If you are not willing to put a full stop to your fitness journey, experiment with the following exercise and learn how to continue training with utmost safety.
Exercises That You Can Perform While On Crutches
Crutches are meant for aiding leg movements. It transfers the overall weight from the legs to the upper body to reduce the strain.
As your legs are the target area, the following exercises will help you get a hold of yourself while strengthening the leg muscles. This will help with a faster recovery.
Note: Before you kick-start any of the exercises mentioned below, we advise you to consult your doctor.
As mentioned earlier, while dealing with crutches, the entire body weight is shifted to the upper body. To deal with this, arm exercises are crucial.
Some of the best arm exercises are:
⇉ Arm circles
⇉ Lat pulldowns
⇉ Shoulder shrugs
⇉ Front arm raises
⇉ Bicep curls
⇉ Shoulder press
You need not worry about doing the exercises mentioned earlier as long as your arms and hands are healthy.
How to Do it:
Sit in an upright position on a comfortable bench. You can use the power racks (if you have any) and conduct the exercises. Place your legs in a comfortable position so that nothing comes in the way of causing any pain.
Working out with a punching bag can build up your cardio strength and arm endurance. Start with lightweight resistance bands and increase the weights as per your convenience.
If you are recovering well, you can also work out with dumbbells. But always work out with a spotter to ensure personal safety.
Core strength building is a must, especially when you are on your crutches. They help with a better posture and controlling the upper body.
Core exercises help with muscle injuries and also helps with back pain. You can try the following core exercises:
⇉ V-sit ups
⇉ Side bends
It helps in building upper body strength that can assist in holding and working with the crutches.
How to Do it:
Sit in an upright position or lie flat on your back. Place your legs in a straight position to perform better.
Twist your upper body from either side and keep the legs and hips still. This will get your abdominal muscles working.
If you want to perform stomach or knee crunches, lift your knee and hold it in an upright position. Then lean forward and come back to the upright seated position.
If you aren’t suffering from any significant injury, you can undertake light walking to kick in some cardio.
Walking helps with keeping the body active while keeping your health in check. It increases the heart rate and burns significant calories.
How to Do it:
Keep a two-inch space between the crutches’ top and your armpit. Stand straight in a way that your crutch handles are leveled with your wrists. Start walking by bending your elbows slightly.
Ensure that you are in the position to walk. If you are planning to walk outdoors, it is best to take somebody with you.
Cardio is a pre-requisite for good health. Additionally, if you are on crutches, getting some cardio can help build your endurance levels.
The following cardio exercises can be undertaken while you are on crutches:
⇉ Walking with a hands-free crutch
⇉ Arm Circles
⇉ Arm bike
⇉ Battle Ropes
How to Do it:
Start by walking for 30 seconds and then increase the timelimit accordingly.
You might find a strain on your shoulders and arms in the initial phase, but you can resume after taking short breaks.
Chest presses or shoulder presses can be conducted by sitting on benches or machines.
Ensure that the exercises are undertaken by maintaining utmost safety. It can cause underarm pain, underarm nerve damage, etc.
Light Leg Exercises
Light leg exercises can help in alleviating the pain from injured legs. Start with some straight leg exercises to build up your leg muscles.
Note: There always lies a possibility of the constant leg movements slowing down your recovery process. So, before you start with this set of exercises, consult your doctor.
How to Do it:
Gently lie on your back and place a pillow under your heel. Keep your injured leg on the bed and bend your good leg. Lift the injured leg and hold it in the lifting position for five-ten seconds. Slowly lower your leg. Repeat the process five-six times.
Aquatic exercises are gaining popularity due to their effectiveness. Moreover, it can be done without crutches.
Note: Consult your doctor before undertaking aquatic exercises.
How to Do it:
Ensure that the legs are covered with a waterproof leg cover, especially if you have a cast. Make it airtight before entering the swimming pool.
Cardiovascular and resistance band exercises can help in a faster recovery without straining the leg too much.
Strength training requires more amount of endurance and capabilities but brings out quick results. It focuses on the upper body and abdomen, giving relief to your injured leg.
You have the following exercises as an option:
⇉ Bicep Curls
⇉ Lat Pulldowns
⇉ Lateral Dumbbell
How to Do it:
Sit in an upright position on a bench. You will be able to work out better if a power rack or squat rack is accessible. Ensure that you have assistance or a spotter to avoid any accidents.
You can also consult your doctor or physiotherapist for any pieces of advice or fitness routine.
Some people are also in the position to perform pull-ups while on crutches. But as it is not mandatory, you must only do the exercise according to your situation and physical capability.
Yoga is such a form of exercise that has not only physical but also mental benefits. As most of the yoga movements are based on leg movements, it can be difficult but not impossible. There are specific yoga exercises that you can perform even with injured legs.
How to Do it:
Sit in an upright position and perform some breathing exercises. This will help in taking your mind off of the leg pain and fasten the recovery process.
Upper-body aerobics is a useful option when it comes to exercising with broken legs. It helps in building the upper body strength that is necessary to manage walking with crutches.
How to Do it:
You can use rowing machines as it is easier to handle with your upper body. Punching exercises are also a good alternative.
Ways to Prevent Further Injury
Even though accidents are imminent, you can always take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself. The following are some of the tried-and-tested ways through which you can prevent any further injuries:
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Most people commit the mistake of getting straight to training without warming-up or cooling down.
Basically, warming up and cooling down is conducting more leisurely activities at a slower pace. It helps in preparing the body for an intense workout session.
It raises the body temperature and prepares your body muscles by increasing the blood flow. As this leads to a reduction in muscle soreness, your body stands at a lower risk of getting injured.
Warming out is followed by a cooling down session that recovers the heart rate and blood pressure. This is preferred more by marathon runners and fitness enthusiasts.
A task as simple as climbing stairs can result in negative consequences if proper precautions aren’t undertaken.
Make sure you do not climb in a hurry and watch your step at every nook and corner of the flight of stairs. Ensure that you breathe properly while climbing, as steady breathing will provide oxygen to the muscles.
You can avoid wrist injury by not using the rail to pull yourself up. Maintain a proper body posture while climbing to prevent any back pain. Ankle sprains can be avoided by keeping your knees aligned while climbing.
Climbing stairs is also considered to be a useful exercise but do not exert yourself.
People prefer walking around to maintain a check over their health. It has significant advantages like increases cardiovascular fitness. Moreover, it can also reduce the chances of heart diseases.
As it helps build strong bones and better body posture and balance, there are fewer chances of succumbing to an injury while working out.
It builds up muscles, thereby increasing your strength and endurance levels.
Devices you can Use While Exercising
Specific exercises might require you to use pieces of equipment for better results, like the following:
A knee scooter is a standard device advised by doctors and physiotherapists for broken feet, knee injury, ankle sprains, or joint pains.
Benefits of Using Knee Scooter:
Sitting on a knee scooter pushes you to maintain a natural upright position. Your shoulders, back, and standing leg are in a comfortable and continuous stride. It can reduce the soreness and stiffness in the muscles.
A knee scooter can fit well over any kind of surface- rough or smooth. This eliminates the possibility of accidentally falling. Moreover, you need not worry about losing balance. It has a wide range of motion that allows you to maintain a proper body posture.
As a knee scooter has a comfortable seat padding, your knees can rest comfortably. This helps with a quick recovery process.
A knee scooter can be an expensive alternative. If you are looking for something that fits your budget and provides similar functionality, you can opt for knee crutches.
Knee crutches require enhanced upper body strength and mobility. You might need some time to adapt to it. But once you get the hang of it, you will not face any issues in continuing your daily activities.
If you have arthritis or suffering from weak wrists, forearm crutches are a must-have. They divert the burden of weight from your wrists to your forearm.
They offer better support than underarm crutches and also a better posture.
There you have it, the most prominent exercises you can efficiently perform even while on crutches. You must never let go of any opportunity that will help you achieve your fitness goal. Remember to take extra precautions while working out and do not allow any hurdle to knock you down.
Before performing any of the exercises mentioned above, consult your doctor about the same for utmost safety and precaution. Lastly, do not over-exert yourself, and do not forget to take some time out to relax!
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.