7 Pro Tips for Making Life Easier on Crutches

As I mentioned the other day, I tore my meniscus while bouldering recently. That means crutches for at least two weeks (possibly even more if I have to get surgery). One thing I've learned about crutches over the last few days is that they are not fun! Between bruised armpits, the fact that it takes forever to walk anywhere and an inability to carry anything, they make life a little challenging. However, there are a few little things I've noticed that seem to make crutch life a little easier. So, here are some of my (kind of) pro tips for making life on crutches just a little easier.

These guys are controlling my life right now...

  1. Do not be afraid to ask for help! There are just certain things you cannot do when both your arms are working overtime to keep you mobile. At my office, I've had to ask my coworkers to do everything from carrying my laptop into meetings to getting my coffee. And as someone who likes to be self-sufficient, I hate having to do that! But, taking your chances on walking with one crutch or hobbling around crutchless can mean a longer recovery, and ain't nobody got time for that!
  2. Adjust your crutch height. When my doctor gave me my crutches, they were set a few inches too high for me. But, since I've never been on crutches before, I had no idea! My friend Arianne spent several weeks on them last year, so she helped me adjust them, and it's been a lifesaver. Instead of having the top padding up in my armpits, I keep it a few inches lower. It lets me use my arms more, letting me avoid bruised underarms.
  3. When walking, look down. Sidewalks are evil. If your city is anything like mine, there are plenty of warped sidewalks that jut up out of nowhere. They can catch you off guard even without crutches — but with crutches, it makes them all the more dangerous. I also nearly wiped out on someone's spilled coffee the other day, so watch out for liquid on the sidewalk!
  4. Embrace the carpool. Since I injured my right knee, I can't do much driving (short trips are fine, but it starts hurting pretty quickly). However, I still need to take care of basics like grocery shopping. So, I've been inviting my roommates along to run errands with me. Since they need to run those errands, too, we're combining our visits into one car trip and I am able to get food. I've also been using Lyft's carpool option, Lyft Line, to get around when I can't get someone to drive me.
  5. Tech is your friend. When you can't con a roommate into driving you to Trader Joe's, there are always delivery options. I used Instacart (sign up with that link and you'll get $10 off your first order!) for the first time last week. Although it can get a bit pricey, it's nice not having to worry about finding a way to lug groceries around without any hands! I've also used Sprig (again, get a free meal if you sign up using my code SteinmeAWP) and Munchery to have healthy-ish meals delivered (since attempting to chop up veggies while on crutches just seems a little dangerous). Yay for the on demand economy!
  6. Talk to your boss. I'm fortunate that I work for a great company that allows us to work from home when we're under the weather. However, I'd never thought to ask them if I could work from home for mobility reasons. When I asked, they were incredibly flexible on letting me work from home so I could keep my knee iced and elevated (a little awkward to do on your desk at the office!). So, don't be afraid to talk to your boss about remote work options. After all, the worst thing they can say is no...and then you're just in the same place you started.
  7. Ask your friends. Chances are, some of your friends have been on crutches at some point in time and understand your pain. Arianne, again, has been super helpful, offering to pick up lunch for me without me having to ask. She also let me borrow the nifty little pouch you see in the picture above, which enables me to carry small things like my phone and wallet (coincidentally, it also holds a bottle of wine perfectly).
So, these are just a few things that have made my life a bit easier lately. It's amazing how much easier it gets after just a few days!

Does anyone else have any crutch tales or tips for getting around? 


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