Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


How to Use Crutches on Stairs

  • Approach the stairs and have your therapist stand by for safety until confident of abilities.
  • Keep crutches down on lower level and do not place upward on the steps. Push down hard on the crutches with your arms. This lifts the body upward.
  • Then, step up first with your strong leg to the first step!
  • Bring up your weak leg and crutches to the same step as the strong leg.
  • Crutches and both legs should now be on the same step.

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Canes - Pick the Right Stick

A cane may be adequate if you need minimal support. First determine the correct length of the cane. If it is too long and your elbow stays bent when you lean on the cane, the triceps muscle at the back of the elbow has to stay contracted. This can lead to muscle fatigue and pain in your shoulder.

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Of Canes and Crutches

Have you thought about using a cane or crutch but dismissed the idea because you’d be self-conscious? Think you'll look "disabled"? Figure that you’ve gotten along okay without walking aids so far, so why start now?

Good question.I know that feeling well and talked about it in “Facing Reality.”

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Are you afraid to be in crowds because you may fall if someone bumps you? Does your “good” leg hurt because it holds most of our weight? Try a cane. Here are a few tips on selecting and using a cane, which you can make yourself or purchase at a local drug store/medical supply store. Some insurance plans will cover the cost of a cane.

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Brace Maintenance and Care Guidelines

Tamara Treanore, CO, ABC
Daniel M. Ryan, MD

Brace maintenance and care will improve the function, extend the life and improve the comfort of the brace. The following guidelines are provided for your use. Please feel free to ask any questions.

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Brace Yourself!

Along with wheelchairs, nothing conjures up as much anxiety as the idea of having to use new—or long-ago discarded—splints, braces, canes or crutches. Using supportive devices may seem like sending a beacon to the world that we are disabled. After years of functioning without obvious aids, it seems like stepping backwards.

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The Utility of Post-Polio Bracing

Irwin M. Siegel, MD

Patients with post-polio weakness can often benefit by using an appropriate brace.

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Orthotics is the use of braces and splints (orthoses) to biomechanically assist in supporting and stabilizing parts of the body affected by paralyzed and/or weak muscles (Bunch, 1985).

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