ten-year-old boy on crutches

By Cormac Liotta , aged 10

When I sprained my knee playing kickball, I learned a lot about mobility.

It was great. I was in a pickle, between bases, about to steal home, doing that back-and-forth, wobbly dance you do when you're not sure if you'll make it. All of a sudden, I heard a POP! and felt a burning pain in my left knee. I was sure that my knee had been ripped right out of my body. Before I knew it, I was on the ground, crying. Everyone saw me crying. Even the girls.

My mom brought me and my throbbing knee to the doctor the next day. After they took x-rays and twisted it a bunch of different ways, they told me I had injured the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of my knee. This meant I was going to be walking with crutches for at least two weeks. I would be wearing a stiff brace around my knee. No more sports for a while.

If you have found yourself all of a sudden needing to use crutches, I have a couple of tips for you.

How to walk with crutches

  • The tops of your crutches should be about one to two inches below your armpits when you are standing up.

  • The hand grips of the crutches should be even with your hip.

  • Your elbows should be kind of bendy when you're holding the grips.

  • Your shoulders should lean forward slightly while using the crutches.

  • Keep the top of the crutches tightly against your sides and lean on your hands.

  • Don't let your armpits hang on the top of the crutches; this can bug your armpits.

How to go on stairs with crutches

  • Use both crutches and start with your good leg.

  • Lift the unhurt leg up first, hanging tight onto the crutches.

  • Once your good leg is on the ground, move the crutches to the next step and let the hurt leg follow.

  • Repeat.

General advice

  • Whenever you make a plan to go somewhere, allow extra time to get there.

  • Take it easy at first. I was pretty excited to use the crutches, and didn't know that my whole body would have to adjust to them. Everything was sore for at least a couple of days, not just my knee.

  • Be nice to your sister and she will bring you more ice.

  • Wait for your mom to help you out of the car so you don't fall out.

Read more articles by the Accessibility Advocate

About the author

Cormac Liotta is in 4th grade.

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