FAQ: What is that Crutch Thing…

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My crutch is shaped like it is because my hands are not able to take any weight. My elbow and shoulder can bear the weight with a “gutter crutch” which is what this basically is. But it is a more modern, lightweight, stronger version of the old metal and velcro model which was ruining my clothes and needed retightening every dozen steps or so.

I need a crutch to shift some of the weight off my foot and hip. My foot has a permanent Lisfranc Injury which we call Frank, and my other hip keeps dislocating ever since my pregnancies. So the main function of my “third leg” is to shift that balance and take the weight off Frank and my hip.

The second function is that it keeps me steady and balanced (yes those are two different things). To look at me you would think that I take up more “room” with 3 legs, but I actually take up less. Because my body has loose ligaments throughout it, I flop around a lot (yes everyone used to laugh at me about how I ran… in the days when IΒ could run), and I walk into walls and door frames. The crutch is steady and solid and so it keeps me steady and I no longer bump into things and hurt myself (often badly).

For the same reason I used to fall over a lot, and so the crutch balances me and stops me falling over.

So that is why it looks funny and what it does.

But my crutch isΒ waaaay more than that for me. It is my badge … when you are robust and “normal” you can absorb knocks and bumps and you would be surprised how many people bump into each other in day to day life. My crutch is a little like a learning licence sign or a baby on board sign on a car; it tells people that one way or another I am fragile and sore, and so they tend to be just that little bit more careful. That marginal care is a world of difference from this end!

 

Twisting and turning pop my joints more often than anything else put together. If you draw a straight line on the ground between one city block and the next (and no one else can see it) and try and walk straight, you will quickly realise that it is impossible. People duck and dive and move and push and charge and wander and all kinds of things. We don’t realise because our bodies were designed to do this, but we make subtle changes to our gait and direction constantly.

I can’t do those things without getting hurt, but I can’t tell strangers that constantly and often if I stand my ground there is a very rude stand off. Rhino people charge through life and others are supposed to get out of the way. Those who wander are simply oblivious and if we don’t move they walk right into us. My crutch gives me “right of way” (in most cases) and even alerts some wanderers to my presence. So even on a good day, and a very short walk, I still take my stick, because I need it for that straight line and to protect me from “the man and woman on the street”.

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