Crutches can be a killer for causing knock on problems throughout the body’
I say crutches but it could very easily be any walking aids. I have a love to hate relationship with these things. ‘Ellie, WHY?’ Let me tell you.
The body works most efficiently when it is as close to balance as possible. In a balanced state muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, even organs work efficiently when they are under little undue stress. They can move in all directions equally, every body’s happy. When we bring crutches or any walking aids in we change where we send our body weight (our Centre Of Mass -COM). Crutches be it one crutch or two will send your weight probably forward and one way more than the other to cope with moving you and your injured lower limb forward. Bring on the rounded shoulders giving you neck pain and your weight through your arms giving you potential shoulder and elbow pain. You also tend to get the classic duck bum (sticky out bottom) helping you lock up joints to make you feel more stable. Jump up now and pretend you have crutches, feel what this feels like in your body. For me I instantly feel into my lower back and arms due to the weight from my upper body and neck. Now try 6 – 10 weeks moving around like this, talk about shrink a bodies comfort zone.
I had a lovely client come to me after she had been on crutches for 10 weeks due to a skiing accident. Her ankle was pinned, in a cast, non weight barring, immobile in one position in an air boot for all this time. She had been given the all clear by the consultant – physio was deemed not needed. Let me say that again NO PHYSIO REQUIRED!
To say I was shocked was an understatement. He had looked at her ankle in isolation, physically the brake had healed. What he hadn’t seen was her right hip taking more load where she had shifted her weight that way for the last 10 weeks to allow herself to move around on the crutches. Her talus bone in her injured ankle was rotated and twisted in keeping her foot in a pronated position (flat foot position). Her ankle being held in this position, now out of all casts, meant she would not be hitting the ground correctly every time she took a step. This can only mean her body has to set up compensations to keep her moving around. Compensations had been created in her body left right and centre for the last 10 weeks. Pain is the last thing to show in a body. The body will try and compensate the best it can until it has no other way and pain shows its self. I firmly believe these compensations, had we have left them, would be setting her up for a hole host of problems later down the line e.g hip replacement to the right hip which was taking so much of her body weight.
Now tell me she didn’t need some great 3D body balancing in her life!
Have you ever had to use crutches or a walking aid? Do you use one now? Take a look in the mirror and start spotting those subtle compensations your body has had to put in play to keep you moving. Fancy joining one of our body balancing classes? We’d love to have you.