Using crutches to reduce damage to feet & ankles

Ever since the foot doctor told me the cartilage in my ankles is nearly worn away, I’ve been worried sick about that! My feet are bad enough, but I didn’t know until he told me that my ankles didn’t look so good, and of course, I started worrying. It probably explains some of the weakness in my ankles.

I don’t want to start using a mobility device, but I was thinking if I used crutches on a daily basis as much as I could, I’d slow down the damage to my ankle joints! I think it’s a great idea, so I just messaged my rheumy to see what he thinks. I’m worried he’ll tell me it would be hard on my wrists and shoulders because of the extra pressure there, but I’m more worried about my ankles than my wrists and shoulders right now!!! I suppose I wouldn’t need a doctor’s order to get a pair of crutches.

Does anybody use crutches for the same reason I mentioned? I’d like to know if they’re commonly used and your thoughts on this…


I’d work with your PT POST HASTE. my 2 cents worth is you’re right about the additional problems caused by crutches. What you might consider however is a forearm crutch (or two) or even a cane. (they just replaced my granddaughters crutches with a can in fact)

Direct pressure up and down is generally not as big a problem as the weakeness which causes side to side pressure sort of like grinding. Some pointed PT and possibly some splinting might help.

I was having a lot of ankle problems (not saying ours are the same) as well. My doc put me back in my cowboy boots (YEAH!!!) and in the alternative some very well (custom) fit Dansko Clogs. Made a world of difference.

Agreed. Custom orthotics can really help as well, as they can work to correct you’re overall mechanics, and working with someone on good shoes. Crutches scare the heck out of me. When I fell a few years ago and needed to minimize the weight on my injured foot, I was told to use crutches to walk with that foot. But you’re talking about both feet. That’s totally different. Work with a PT, who can also teach you how to use mobility support correctly.

On a side note, I just started my own little buying spree of Dansko shoes. My feet are a disaster, including bone spurs on the top of my feet. I’ve gotten a few pairs of Mary Jane style clogs on eBay, and I am in love with them! Also, check out this well researched blog about shoes -

Thank you tntlamb and Stoney. I haven’t done PT for my feet yet, but I was fitted for orthotics. I do need to invest in some better shoes, though.

It makes sense that side to side motion causes more injury. I hadn’t thought of that, and splints would be helpful. My foot doctor didn’t have many ideas—didn’t even suggest PT, but told me he wasn’t sure orthotics would even help.

I’ll look into the Dansko shoes. I checked out the blog and saw some slippers I like, but some of them are the European sizing so I’m not sure about the size—IDK if they run larger or smaller. I usually wear a 9-1/2, so not sure if I’d wear a 40 or 41 in those.

If you can believe it, I wear rubber-soled flip flops in the house because they feel the best. I absolutely can’t tolerate walking barefoot anymore.

Anyway, thanks for the good advice!

I wear a US size 10.5-11 and the Eur size 41 clog is fitting perfectly. I had tried them on a while ago in a store so I was already confident with the size. But I really love the fit and how good they feel.

Definitely try on in the store, or order more than one size and return. But my bet would be that 41 would be too big for you.

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Hi Grandma-J,

Having spent last summer on walking crutches given the pelvic fractures and using a walker and then a wheelchair when out, I can tell you that the stresses to the rest of your skeleton can be a right pain in the behind, arms, wrists and shoulders and back.

I’d defintely go down the avenue of a podiatrist, PT and getting shoes and splints that help rather than just using crutches. You’d be amazed how much better you might feel with your ankles properly supported a bit like Mr Lamb’s cowboy boots scenario. I know for me being in my crocs walking boots is a whole lot better than using crutches.

Hi Poo…
I think I’m going to ask for the splints. You’re right, it does affect the rest of the skeleton. I haven’t mentioned that I’ve been also having some weird stiffness on my knees, nothing severe, but it is new. I’ve never had significant pain in my knees or hips and I’d rather keep it that way. And, yes, I do agree crutches would hurt my shoulders and wrists and I don’t want that pain again!!! I just wish our PsA bodies weren’t so wimpy.

My foot & ankle doctor didn’t even suggest PT. But, then again, my insurance is such that I have a large copay for every visit and it would cost nearly $500 a month to do PT twice a week. We really can’t afford that so I think I’ll look into exercises I can do that would help my ankles, and get the better shoes.

Yay! Look what I found! I remembered having a pair when I broke my ankle! I had to slip my shoes on to see if they fit inside them and they do!!!image


I have to agree crutches hurt other joints so trading one problem for another.

Yes, I agree…it was just a thought. I’ve kept the ankle splints on for over 5 hours now and they’re not that bad! In fact, my ankles feel better when I walk! We went grocery shopping—they don’t interfere with my shoes. I still have some foot pain but I didn’t expect them to help that…I’m just so happy I’m being proactive and stabilizing my ankles so they stop wearing out!!! Thanks, tntlamb, for suggesting them! :heart:


Hi there @Grandma_J… as for shoe sizes, if you google search “shoe size chart” you should be able to find charts that give you all the different sizes, you can measure your feet and go from there. I have terrible trouble with getting shoes to fit, short wide feet, so the width is always an issue for me… I ended having to get some through an orthotics company :roll_eyes:

When it comes to using crutches, I’d agree with the others, you might be asking for trouble with other joints… however… I do have a little telescopic type cane that I take with me if I know I’m going to need to be walking any distance, have found it useful if I’m getting tired and sore… I seem to be able to keep going a little faster/longer than I do without it.

The ankle splints sound like a good idea… how are you going with them? Still finding them helpful? My ankles are a killer for me and have wondered about splits or even those athletic type supports. Anything that might keep me on feet longer lol

Hi janson,
I agree—crutches are a no go.
I wore the splints all day yesterday and I’m amazed at how well they work. My ankles will benefit from them.

At first I thought they were a little uncomfortable, but after a few hours they weren’t bothering me at all. It’s almost like having a cast on—they really provided a lot of stability for my ankles!

I would highly recommend getting a pair if your ankles are weak. I still won’t do extra walking because of my arches, but I’m hoping the splints minimize the wear and tear on my ankles!

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Awesome!! I’m pleased they are helpful!!
Do you have/wear custom made insoles to support your arches? and if so, do you wear them?

I know that having the insoles makes a difference for me, sometimes a subtle difference… I seem to stand straighter and maintain a better gait when I walk, which means neither I or my joints get so tired walking. The custom insoles tend to support the ankles by maintaining and supporting the arch (or at least I think that’s how it works lol)

Yes, I do have custom orthotics. I got them a few weeks ago. I haven’t been switching them between shoes, but I know I should. I have them in the pair of shoes I wear the most.

As far as walking a lot, my legs get extremely tired when I walk. After about half a block my legs are burning and weak. My rheumatologist actually told me he could get me into tests at the MAO Clinic in Rochester, MN for testing for a metabolic myopathy. I’m just debating whether I should do that or not. There is another problem I have that’s extremely annoying and that is my left eye gets blurry and I have double vision off and on throughout the day…this could be another symptom of that same thing.

I had mentioned in a different discussion about my eye doctor testing me for myasthenia gravis. The blood test for that came out negative, but it’s like the PsA tests, about 50% of those are inconclusive. I don’t think it’s myasthenia gravis—I sure hope it’s not—but I do think it’s something and it would be good to have answers.

I wanted to say, whatever I have, rest improves it. So I can walk, and I can see clearly—with walking I stop and rest often—for my eyes, I close them for awhile several times throughout the day to give them a break.