(4) Have the patient stand at the bedside with the crutches in place and grip
the hand bars. You should be able to fit two fingers between the axilla and the axillary
bar when the patient is standing in the tripod position (see figure 1-7).
Figure 1-7. Tripod position.
(5) Adjust the hand bar so that the patient's elbow is flexed approximately
30 when the hand grips the hand bar.
Check each crutch for proper fit and ask the patient if the crutch feels
c. With properly fitted crutches, the patient is almost ready to learn ambulation
with crutches. Prepare the patient for instruction by doing the following:
(1) Explain the procedure to the patient and determine if the patient has the
upper body strength and ability to ambulate.
Ensure that the patient is fully clothed and wearing non-skid slippers or
(3) Assist the patient to stand. Have the patient grasp both crutches in one
hand at the handgrip, then push off from the bed with the free hand using the crutches
(4) Instruct the patient to stand in correct body alignment with the tip of the
crutches 6 inches in front and 6 inches to the side of the feet. (This is the tripod
position.) The hands and arms, not the axillae, should bear the weight. The elbows
should be flexed about 30.
Teach the prescribed gait.