How I'm Choosing to 'Own' My Crutches

crutches decorated with leopard print fabric Due to a series of unfortunate events, I have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The CRPS is in my foot and leg and means I must use crutches to get around. CPRS causes extreme levels of pain. Being a chronic condition, it isn’t going away any time soon, though of course my doctors are working with different medications and forms of physical therapy to help the pain.

All of this means I’ve been using crutches for 18 months now. A while ago I decide to “own it.” If I’m going to be on crutches for who knows how long, I’m not going to be on boring old gray crutches. And I’m going to make them more functional for me. After all, it’s hard to carry a purse with crutches, and a backpack means swinging it on and off every time I want to get my wallet out.

fuzzy socks with pink zebra stripes and cats

So I searched online and found some cute leopard print covers for the handles and the tops of my crutches. I got pockets (leopard!) that attach to the sides below the handles to carry my wallet, cell phone and anything else I need along with me. (For those of you on crutches, they make tons of other colors and patterns for you to dress up your crutches).

Doing this made life easier for me in a practical way right away. Everything I need is right at hand. I don’t have to ask people to carry my purse, my wallet or whatever for me anymore. woman's foot with a fuzzy black and white polka dot sock Less dependence, more independence, more confidence. Making the crutches look “cool” and fun also gave me more confidence, as I felt more like, “Yeah, these are my tools, so what?”

Somehow, through doing this – through dressing up my tools for mobility – I moved another little step towards acceptance of my disability, too. Oh yeah, and since my foot is very sensitive, I can’t wear a regular shoe on that foot. I wear a “fracture shoe” which is like a giant sandal. Sensitive feet like super soft chenille socks. Naturally I have many fun patterns for those socks, too! “Own it!”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

woman holding hands over her face while smiling

To Everyone Who Asks Me Why I Smile Through the Pain

In today’s society, it is really easy to judge someone before getting to know them. We look at a person and quickly make a first opinion based on outside appearance. But how do we know what that person is really like, what they are going through, their struggles, their strengths, and their weaknesses? I struggle [...]
woman laying on couch

What It's Like Living With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the 'Suicide Disease'

It’s 4 a.m., and once again I’m unable to sleep. As I sit alone in my living room, guided meditation for pain streaming though my iPhone and sounds of my husband and dog’s snores hovering in the background, I attempt to choke back the tears. I am on fire. There are no flames, smoke or [...]
Hospital corridor

To the Nurse Who Told Me Not to Cry When I Was in Pain

Dear Nurse, Let me first start by saying I have a surmountable amount of respect and admiration for you — as a human being and as a nurse. You have made so many sacrifices to make sure not only I feel comforted and cared for, but also every single one of your patients does, too. [...]
Casual businesswoman rubbing her neck

Life With One of the Most Painful Conditions Known to Modern Medicine

November is RSD/CRPS Awareness Month. RSD/CRPS goes by many names: reflex sympathetic dystrophy, reflex neurovascular dystophy, complex regional pain syndrome, hand-foot atrophy, Sudeck’s atrophy, amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome, and causalgia (to name a few common ones). So what is RSD/CRPS? To start, it is the most painful medical condition known to man at a 45/50 [...]