What Are Ankle Crutches?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Ankle crutches are devices that help an individual heal and remain mobile following an ankle injury. Offerings range from the underarm crutch to the knee scooter. These assistive medical objects should be used in correlation with other treatment protocols.

Various ankle problems may necessitate the use of ankle crutches. If one violently twists the ankle sideways, a sprain can occur. This process stretches and sometimes tears the ligaments in the ankle, causing swelling and pain. The most severe sprains can hinder walking, and therefore may require crutches. Other injuries may fracture the ankle bone itself, and these types of injuries will most likely require use of ankle crutches.

Most crutches contain a long slender stick that extends from below the shoulders to the floor. A handgrip rests near the top area of the stick. One of the most common types is the underarm crutch, which contains pads at the top that fit against the armpit.

Other types of crutches may replace the pads with a cuff or brace that fits around the upper arm, providing support. Some ankle crutches may also come equipped with a leg support that keeps the injured leg off the ground. For individuals that cannot use the traditional crutch structure, an ankle crutch scooter — or knee scooter — may provide an alternative solution. They allow the individual to move on a small wheeled vehicle that can even be motorized.


Any crutch needs to be properly sized. For one, an upright crutch should remain about two inches from the armpit. In addition, the area where the hand grips the crutch should be located in such a way that the elbow is bent at a slight angle.

Using ankle crutches is a relatively simple task. Depending on the severity of the injury, a physician may instruct the patient to keep all weight off of the injured ankle. In this case, to walk the individual would place the crutches roughly six inches (about 15.2 centimeters) in front of his or feet and move the crutches about six inches (about 15.2 centimeters) to the side as well. This creates a triangle between each crutch end and the backs of the feet. For each step, the individual uses the upper body to move his or her feet beyond the crutches and repeats the process over again.

A comprehensive treatment will combine crutches with other measures. Some degree of mobility is important, and ankle crutches will help with this step. Resting the ankle and applying ice to reduce swelling are equally important for healing, however. Applying a compressive bandage to the ankle and elevating it when possible will further help reduce swelling. Braces or surgical intervention may be required in some cases as well.


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Post 3

@spotiche5- I think it depends on the type of area that your father will be using the ankle scooter. If he will be rolling around on it in open spaces, then yes, I think it will work for him. However, if he needs to get around tight spaces or travel a lot, he will probably have an easier time using traditional crutches.

Post 2

@spotiche5- My friend has to use an ankle scooter after an injury, and she found it to be quite bulky and awkward. She also had a hard time getting use to maneuvering it around corners, hallways, and objects.

If your dad has used regular crutches before and didn't have any problems using them, he should probably stick with them.

Post 1

Does anyone know if the knee scooter is easy to use? My father injured his ankle, and has to stay off it for at least 6 weeks after he has surgery. He's used ankle crutches before, but is thinking about using the scooter if it is more convenient.

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