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After Knee Replacement: Walking with Crutches

Once your balance improves, you may begin using crutches or a cane instead of a walker. Crutches and canes can help you walk with an even stride. Follow all instructions given to you by your physical therapist.

Using crutches

  • With crutches in place, lean on your hands. The top of the crutches should be just below, not in, the armpits.

  • Move your operated leg and crutches forward at the same time. Keep the operated leg lined up with the crutches.

  • Look straight ahead, and step through the crutches with your good leg.

Woman walking with two crutches.

Walking up stairs

  • Hold the rail with one hand and both crutches in the other. Support your weight evenly between the rail and the crutches.

  • With the crutches and operated leg on the lower step, step up with your unoperated leg.

  • Keeping a grip on the rail, bring your operated leg and crutches up to the same step.

Walking down stairs

  • Hold the rail with one hand and both crutches in the other.

  • With your weight on your unoperated leg, step down with your operated leg and crutches.

  • Using the crutches and rail for balance, slowly bring your unoperated leg down to the same step.

Woman walking down stairs with crutch.

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Trina Bellendir PT
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.