Do Crutches Give You a Workout?

We all know that crutches are a pain to use, but did you know that they can actually give you a bit of a workout? Check out this blog post to learn more about the benefits of using crutches!


Using crutches can be a necessary part of recovery procedures and rehabilitation following an injury. Many people wonder if crutches can provide any kind of workout while in use, particularly as a part of a physical fitness plan. Understanding the structure and design of crutches and how they are used allow us to answer the question: do crutches give you a workout?

Crutches are medical devices designed to help people move around when they have difficulty walking, due either to injury or disability. They consist typically of two padded arm supports that attach to an arched vertical support rod with a grip for the hand, along with poles fitted beneath the arms for balance and stability. This setup allows users to take most of their weight off their affected limb or limbs while still being able to move around using their legs and bodyweight as leverage.

Benefits of Using Crutches

Using crutches can be a great way to get a workout without putting undue strain on your body. Crutches are designed to evenly distribute weight across your limbs, allowing you to get a full-body workout while preventing injury. Using crutches can also help to strengthen leg muscles and develop balance. Let’s deep dive into the benefits of using crutches.

Improved Mobility

The use of crutches is an effective way to improve mobility for those with certain physical limitations. Crutches are designed to provide support for weight bearing when walking, and can reduce your risk of injuries by reducing the stress placed on other parts of your body. Proper crutch use will enable you to move safely and reduce pain or discomfort while standing or walking. It is important to ensure that the crutches are fitted correctly and adjusted correctly in order to properly support your body weight.

Using the proper technique while using crutches not only helps you keep your balance and stay comfortable, but also strengthens several key muscle groups in the legs and arms. This increased strength can help improve mobility overall, providing additional stability when walking and helping make everyday tasks such as climbing stairs easier. Crutches can also help increase aerobic activity in more active individuals by adding another form of exercise as part of their daily activity level – meaning greater overall health benefits!

Improved Balance

Using crutches can help to improve balance in individuals with acute injuries as well as those with chronic conditions. The use of crutches requires wise decisions with evaluating the amount and types of activities, walking distances, and choosing a proper fit that allows comfortable support. When people use crutches, they are often forced to shift their weight in order to move around while balancing on one leg. This can help promote better balance and improved stability to stay upright in everyday activities.

Additionally, when moving around on crutches, the individual is forced to activate other muscles for stabilization purposes that may otherwise be forgotten about without regular exercise and strength training. This can improve muscular control over time which may reduce the risk of future injury and improve overall balance. Crutch users should always pay close attention to the condition of the injured limbs when using crutches since poor balance with using crutches can lead to further injury.

Improved Strength

Regular use of crutches can not only help someone heal from an injury, but also improve their strength and aerobic exercise. When using crutches, the body is working to stay balanced and upright, as well as provide support. This puts significantly more strain on the upper body muscles and core than walking without assistance. Operating a pair of crutches will require some training and coordination; but with practice comes improved strength in the arms, chest, abdominal muscles, back, and even legs. This increased strength can be beneficial for many physical movements that require arm or core stability.

Using crutches also has aerobic benefits since it requires continuous movement for balance. The body’s heart rate will increase when using crutches as it does during other exercises such as running or walking, providing a moderate – intensity workout to increase cardiovascular endurance. Even short-term use of crutches can benefit an individual with improved strength and aerobic exercise similarly to any regular workout routine. With regular use of crutches comes increased muscular activity across the entire body — resulting in stronger arms and legs, stronger core muscles for balance control on slick surfaces and improved overall fitness level from improved cardiac endurance over time!

Disadvantages of Using Crutches

When it comes to using crutches, there are many advantages, but there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of. While using crutches can be a great way to maintain mobility, it can also cause some physical strain on your body. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the potential drawbacks of using crutches, so you can make an informed decision on whether or not they are right for you.

Potential Injury

Using crutches can cause potential injury, even when used appropriately. Overuse injuries such as stress and soft tissue injuries like tendonitis or bursitis can occur if crutches are used incorrectly. To reduce the risk of harm, it is important to use proper form when using crutches and not lean too far forward or lift too high. Additionally, care must be taken to ensure that your wrists are properly cushioned to prevent any discomfort or pain. It is also important to take frequent breaks and allow your muscles to rest from bearing your weight if you plan on using crutches for a long period of time. Additionally, depending on the type of crutch being used (i.e., forearm-style), you may be at an increased risk for developing nerve damage in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS can occur as a result of continuous pressure on the hand and wrist as it is held in place by the cuff surrounding it.

Increased Fatigue

When using crutches, increased fatigue can be a real problem for many people. Since the lower body must bear the weight of the rest of the body and shift it through space with every stride, just walking can become tiring. This fatigue is compounded by any activity that requires more energy, such as climbing stairs or walking up inclines. In order to compensate for this additional strain, users must utilize more upper body strength. This usually leads to an increased degree of discomfort in the arms and shoulders after prolonged times on crutches. Although some newer designs have encouraged people to use their legs more than their arms while using crutches, they still require more energy than normal walking and do not provide the same level of exercise as an unsupported walk.

Crutches and Exercise

Crutches can be used to help those with injuries or disabilities get around, but are they able to give you any kind of workout? While it isn’t likely that crutches can get you into peak physical shape, they can certainly provide some beneficial exercise. In this article, we’ll examine the various ways you can use crutches to get a workout. From strengthening your mental focus to toning your muscles, crutches can provide some surprising advantages.

Calorie Burn

Using crutches can be quite a workout depending on the user’s bodyweight and fitness level. It is estimated that those of average build burn roughly 75-110 calories per hour walking with crutches. Crutch walking requires more strength, balance and coordination than regular walking, so it can provide an increased calorie burn as well as additional muscle toning and endurance benefits.

The calorie-burning effects of using crutches are enhanced when going up hills or on uneven terrain, due to the extra effort needed to maintain balance and stability. Additionally, because crutches use both arms instead of one for support, they may enable those with lower limb injuries or impairments greater opportunity to exercise the upper body too.

Muscle Strengthening

Using crutches can help achieve overall muscle strengthening in the arms, shoulders and back since lifting and supporting the body’s weight with crutches engages muscles that wouldn’t normally be used. This can help prevent muscle strain or atrophy, which can occur when relying on a single limb due to an injury. It is important to remember that although crutches provide exercise ­opportunities, overuse of any injured body part should be avoided until fully healed.

When using crutches, it is important to use proper technique so as not to cause more injury or harm any pre-existing conditions. Following these tips will ensure a safe and effective workout:
-Wear comfortable shoes that offer good arch and ankle support.
-Ensure proper posture while on the crutches by standing up straight with your shoulder blades back and chin up.
-Alternate the arms used for support when going up and down hills or stairs for equal muscle workout on both sides of your body.
-Take frequent breaks if moving around for long periods of time so your upper body does not become overly fatigued.
-Pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may feel so you can adjust your technique appropriately


In conclusion, crutches do provide some physical exercise benefits. However, these benefits are not quite as great as those offered by more traditional forms of aerobic exercise. While crutches can provide a workout that focuses on the upper body and core muscles, walking or running will still be better for getting the most benefit of cardiovascular fitness and overall health.

It is important to note that if you are using crutches due to an injury or medical condition, you should always follow the advice of your doctor when it comes to exercising with them. You may need to take extra precautions to ensure that your movements are healing correctly. In any case, it is important to remember that there is no substitute for engaging in regular physical activity and adhering internal healthy habits like eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking.

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