How to use walking aids

If you have been given specific weight bearing guidance such as partial weight bearing (PWB) or non-weight bearing (NWB) for a set amount of time, you must wait until you are told by your Consultant or Physiotherapist that you can put more weight through your leg.

Always seek guidance from your Physiotherapist if you are unsure about how and when to progress your walking.

How to use elbow crutches Full weight bearing (FWB):
This type of walking is often the first type of walking you are taught with crutches after surgery, injury or due to pain or weakness in one leg.

2 Point gait pattern with 2 elbow crutches or 2 walking sticks:
This is a more natural walking pattern and is often a progression from the step-through gait.

How to use 1 elbow crutch or a walking stick:
This type of walking is often recommended as a progression from using 2 crutches after surgery or injury.
It is also a useful way of walking if you have one leg that is weaker or unable to bear as much weight as your other leg.

How to use elbow crutches Non weight bearing (NWB):
You would have been advised to use crutches NWB on one leg if your Consultant wants to protect an injury such as a fracture or a surgical procedure where a structure
has been repaired.
It is important that you follow the NWB instructions from your consultant as if you put weight through your injured or operated leg when you have been advised not to, you may cause further damage.

How to use elbow crutches Partial-weight bearing (PWB):
PWB is a type of walking that is used to protect an injury such as a fracture or after a surgical procedure when a structure needs protecting.
You are normally told a set-time period to PWB for, you should continue to PWB until you are told by your Consultant or Physiotherapist that you can put more weight through your leg.

All walking aids should be returned to the health board once you have finished using them as they can be refurbished and re-used by other patients. There is more information on how to return your walking aids on our walking aids service page.

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