Opportunities - Walking with Crutches After Knee Replacement Surgery

Walking with Crutches After Knee Replacement

University of Calgary



Crutches are commonly prescribed after knee operations. In Canada each year, over 70,000 knee replacements (KR) and 12,000 knee anterior cruciate ligament repairs (ACLR) are performed. After both these surgeries, patients use crutches to avoid bearing weight on the leg that was operated on. This is beneficial but it also results in more weight bearing on the arms and non-operated leg. This could lead to crutch-associated injuries to these arms and leg.


The risk of crutch-associated injury has not been well-studied. From 1991-2008 about 16,000 injuries associated with crutch use presented to American Pediatric Emergency Departments. Injuries related to this crutch use compounds a patient’s disability from their knee operation and impairs the patient’s quality of life. This also increases healthcare system use and can delay return to work and school.


This project aims to measure how the upper body, lower body, and trunk move when people use crutches after KR and ACLR.  We will also measure how upper body muscles fire in these patients when they use crutches. This type of study has not yet been done with axillary (underarm) crutches, the crutches most commonly used after surgeries in Canada.

40 participants (20 males and 20 females) will be recruited for each of the KR and ACLR groups.

The KR patients will be tested at 2 days post-operation and the ACLR group will be tested 5 days post-operation. We have already collected this type of data on 15 healthy males using crutches in our gait laboratory.


With your support and experience expertise we can work toward preventing additional injuries that can result from crutch use after knee surgery!


Roles and Responsibilities

The project is looking for one patient partner who has had a knee replacement surgery and used crutches to advise and inform the research project and ensure patient participant experience is positive and meaningful. We want our research to be relevant and accessible to the end-users.


Time Commitment

The expected time commitment is approximately 10 hours over the course of 15 months (October 2019-March 2021).Patient partners will be asked to provide feedback via email and attend 2 in-person or web-based/teleconference meetings, 1 hour each, at the University of Calgary.



This is a volunteer role with a minimal time commitment. Reimbursement for parking will be offered to partners attending in-person meetings at the University of Calgary.



Contact Information


Dr. Ranita Manocha


403.944.5930 extension 2