The Latest Methods to Minimize Post-Op Crutch Use
If you are planning for a foot or ankle procedure or surgery, you likely want to know how to minimize post-op crutch use. No one likes to be dependent on crutches. It can be painful to your arms and armpit area, leading to skin irritations and even nerve ending damage in your armpit. Plus, it slows you down considerably and makes it difficult to function optimally in your daily life. Keep reading to learn all about the latest methods available to help you reduce the amount of time you need crutches.
The Problem with Crutches
Taking a post-op approach that avoids weight-bearing on feet and ankles has been the norm, podiatrists are discovering that getting patients off crutches sooner may provide more desirable results.
In addition to skin irritations and arm discomfort, some of the problems with the traditional six to eight weeks on crutches include:
- Low morale—patients who must depend on crutches for several weeks often get discouraged and experience negative emotions.
- Underuse of muscles—when using crutches for long periods of time, the muscles that are not in use can atrophy and become weaker, often requiring additional physical therapy to strengthen them again.
- Mobility issues—not being able to move about the home or workplace as usual can place additional stress on the patient, which can negatively impact the healing process.
How Is a Reduction in Crutch Use Possible?
The latest advances and findings in foot and ankle surgeries have led to less-invasive, smoother operation procedures, while innovative tools have led to more durable repair work. This means patients are often able to recover with less pain and get back on their feet sooner.
As a result, many of the top podiatrists and surgeons believe it may be time to test earlier weight-bearing without crutches on qualifying patients much earlier than the traditional six to eight weeks post-op.
Some of the tools, techniques, and methods that may allow patients to minimize crutch-use include:
- Bone anchors
- Locking plate technology
- Compression screws
- New surgical techniques that lead to cleaner surgeries
Experience a Smoother Recovery from Foot and Ankle Surgery
While not all patients will qualify for a reduction in crutch-use time, doctors are beginning to test crutch-free weight-bearing on certain patients. Some of the benefits they see include:
- Boosts in patient morale; a positive attitude has shown to promote a patient’s ability to heal.
- Limited atrophy and less scar tissue.
- Rather than the typical six to eight weeks of crutch-use, patients are leaving crutches behind in seven to 10 days post-op.
- A less frustrating and restrictive recovery time.
Trust Foot HealthCare Associates for All Your Foot and Ankle Needs
Are you preparing for foot or ankle surgery? Do you want to find out if you might be a good candidate for recovery without the traditional crutch-use? Turn to the trusted Michigan podiatrists at Foot HealthCare Associates. Connect with us to make an appointment or to inquire about how to minimize post-op crutch use.