Canes and crutches can help keep your weight off the wound, assist with balance, and enable you to perform your daily activities more safely. If your wound requires you to get around without putting any weight on your leg or foot, you may have to use crutches. A cane can be helpful if you have minor problems with balance or stability, some weakness in your leg or trunk, an injury, or pain.
Pressure results from mechanical offloading of the feet when the individual engages in activities such as walking and standing, exposing the plantar surface of the feet to reaction forces that act upon the foot tissue, causing compression and some- times shear stress.
Off loading is an intervention that relieves, reduces or redistributes plantar pressure to avoid the concentration of high pressures in DFUs, in the diabetic ulcer-free foot and also to protect pressure points in the foot.
The benefits of total or partial non–weight-bearing devices such as crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, or knee walkers is total removal of pressure from the plantar surface of the foot and from the ankle. However, these devices are often not practical because of patient obesity, debilitation, or other influencing systemic factors
Crutches may be a good choice after a leg injury or surgery if you only need a little help with balance and stability. Crutches are also useful when your leg is only a little weak or painful.
While you are moving around with crutches:
- Let your hands carry your weight, not your armpits.
- Look forward when you are walking, not down at your feet.
- Use a chair with armrests to make sitting and standing easier.
- Make sure your crutches have been adjusted to your height. The top should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5 to 4 centimeters) below your armpit. The handles should be at hip level.
- Your elbows should be slightly bent when you hold the handles.
- Keep the tips of your crutches about 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) away from your feet so that you do not trip.
To walk safely with a cane on level surfaces:
- Hold the cane in the hand on your “good” side so that it provides support to the opposite lower limb
- Take a step with the “bad” leg and bring the cane forward at the same time. Move the cane and affected leg forward together.
- Lean your weight through the arm holding the cane as needed
- Always have the bad leg assume the first full weight-bearing step on level surfaces
- The cane should be moved the distance of one average step forward with each move. You should not feel that you are stretching to catch up to the cane or stepping ahead of it.
Pricing and Suppliers
Is it covered by Medicare Part B?
Some canes and crutches are non-covered by Medicare Part B and others are covered, provided coverage requirements are met. Requirements include and are not limited to beneficiary’s difficulty moving around, resulting in impaired daily activities in the home, such as toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and bathing.
Local Coverage Determination for Canes and Crutches (L33733)
How can I purchase this product?
If you have coverage through Medicare Part B, you may be eligible to have this product covered by Medicare. You will need a written order prescribed by a provider enrolled in Medicare, so that you can purchase this product at a Durable Medical Equipment store that accepts Medicare. You will need to pay deductibles and co-payment. The actual co-payment amount varies according to your state. If you do not have Medicare Part B or your condition does not meet the requirements needed for coverage, you can find this product at pharmacies and medical supply stores. When available, please see pricing in "Other Stores" below.
The table below shows highest and lowest Medicare pricing across the country
|Description||Medicare DME co-payment Min / Max
|Crutches underarm, other than wood, adjustable or fixed, pair, with pads, tips and handgrips||
$9.82 / $11.55
If your insurance does not cover this product, you can purchase it directly from any store. A list of online stores and prices is provided below for your convenience. For updated prices, find it on the internet at https://woundreference.com/app/product?id=709
||Free with Prime||
* Indicates whether store accepts Medicare or commercial insurance, but may not apply to this specific product. See coding, coverage and reimubursement for more information.
The information on this handout is for your convenience and educational purposes only. All product claims and specifications are those of the product suppliers. It does not constitute medical advice or a guarantee for reimbursement. Prices may have changed and suppliers may not have product in stock. Please confirm accuracy and appropriateness of information with insurance carrier and product supplier. Clinician and WoundReference assume no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products and insurance coverage.