Tips for Getting Around at Home with a Broken Limb

Tips for Getting Around at Home with a Broken Limb

Abby Stone
Jan 14, 2013

The day before Thanksgiving I slipped on my front steps and broke my foot. Suddenly, life became a lot more challenging. Hopefully you'll never break anything, but if you happen to come home from that holiday skiing trip with a souvenir, here are some of the things I've learned that will make your life a lot easier.

Roll Up The Rugs: Rugs, especially those without a rug pad under them, can slow down a wheelchair or slip under a crutch. Roll them up or remove them.

Investigate a food delivery service like Fresh Direct: Though friends have been kind enough to ferry me to the grocery store (a broken right foot means driving is out) or do my grocery shopping for me, food delivery is invaluable. Even if you think of yourself as someone who doesn't cook, you'll need things like juice and milk.

Another thing about eating: Since you won't be able to purchase fresh food on a regular basis, meal planning and your freezer will become your allies.

Amazon Prime is my homegirl: The mailman has become my best friend, though I doubt the feeling is mutual now that I've started ordering everything from Amazon. With a subscription to Amazon Prime, which cuts out the cost of shipping, anything I order from Amazon will cost the same as if I was able to run to the store to get it. Shampoo, vitamins, even some food! I'll definitely stick with this after my foot heals.

Consider renting alternate modes of transportation: While I use my crutches when I go out, I've rented a knee walker for getting around the house. A type of scooter, it's not only fun but it means I can move a cup of tea from the kitchen to the living room (an impossible feat on crutches) and do short errands in the neighborhood. Hands-free crutches are another option (great for channelling your inner pirate). You need to get a prescription from the doctor in order for the cost of these items to be covered by your insurance. An office chair on wheels can also be useful. You can kneel on it with your back leg and scoot around on it, or you can use it like a wheelchair. (Useful if, like me, you want to help out with the cooking in a friend's kitchen.)

Accept the help of friends and family: This may be the hardest one on the list. Especially if, like me, you're used to being independent, asking other people to do things for you, or allowing them to do things for you, can be challenging.

Clothing will be a challenge: No skinny jeans for me (the cast doesn't fit through the leg hole). No high heels (While walking in high heels is okay, I do a fair amount of hopping around, a much harder trick to manage in heels.) Crutches make your shirts ride up (something to think about if you have the midriff of a person over the age of 35) and they're also tiring and sweat-inducing (layer, layer, layer). You may need to wear gloves to prevent blisters on your palms.

Things on high shelves are no longer accessible: I'm small, so I'm used to climbing on counters and chairs and drag stepstools around in order to reach things. Not an option when you're on crutches. If this keeps up much longer I may have to consider purchasing one of those grabber things.

Electronic media: This isn't like a regular stay at home situation. You need to stay off your feet, so things on your to-do list, like cleaning out the closet, will not get crossed off. You'll be spending a lot of time keeping your limb elevated, i.e., lying on the couch watching a lot of tv or reading. With Netflix, Hulu Plus, and an IPad or a laptop, I'm barrelling through all those movies and tv shows I never got around to. My iBooks, Kindle and Zinio applications are also getting a workout.

Bathing: I purchased a sleeve to keep my cast dry while showering or in the bath. Much more effective than the garbage bag and duct tape option.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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