Get Back On Your Feet Faster With My 6 Step Broken Leg Healing Guide

I learned everything about life on crutches the hard way - so you don't have to!

How To Survive Living Alone on Crutches

Having a broken leg is a difficult enough experience - but if you're living alone it might feel borderline impossible.

I went through it after my skiing accident where I smashed my tibial plateau and had a three hour surgery to put it back together again. Returning home from the hospital, where I'd had several lovely nurses to help me with everything, it was a shock to find myself still weak and dependent but alone.

I had to figure out how to keep myself fed, watered and reasonably clean without anyone around 24/7. Here's what I learned - and I hope you find yourself in the same situation that this helps you.

TLDR: In case you don't read all the way down - the number one purchase that made my life easier was a rolling office chair!


I had two large insulated water bottles by my bed, the kind with screw on caps and handles. Every time I went to the bathroom, I'd fill them up as well. In the early days even getting up from bed to go to the bathroom feels like a huge effort, but it's really important to stay hydrated.


Online delivery is your friend. In the beginning I couldn't cook for myself because I didn't have the strength to stand up that long on one leg. Chopping, sauteing, frying, anything beyond using a microwave or opening a jar is probably going to be beyond you as well.

So I had easy to eat food delivered (I ate a lot of fruit, hummous, rice cakes and tins of tuna) plus made a big order of reheatable food from my favourite Indian restaurant to last three or four days at a time.

When you order, specify in the comments that you have a broken leg and so the delivery driver will need to come right to your door and/or you might be slow getting to the door. It's worth tipping a bit more as they are going to more effort.

Then in order to move your food from the kitchen to your bed or where-ever you like to eat, I used plastic takeaway containers or food storage containers with lids so I could transport the food via plastic bag hung on my crutches without it spilling everywhere, and then just ate directly from the container.

You could also get buy paper plates, cutlery and bowls so you don't have to worry about loading and unloading the dishwasher.

If you don't have an electric kettle for boiling water, order one so that you can make quick ramen, soups, and hot drinks. When you're in bed all the time, a hot drink like a herbal tea or miso soup can really lift your mood.


The most impossible thing to do on crutches is take out the garbage. It can't be done alone. Here you'll need to ask a neighbour to take it, a friend to take it out, or leave it outside your door with a note explaining your predicament and hoping someone will take it out for you.


Showering is tough even if you don't have a cast and have a brace like I did. For the first couple of weeks I didn't shower more than once a week and relied on wipes and flannel washes from the sink. (Fortunately, if you're in bed all day you're not getting that dirty or sweaty).

Then I bought a shower chair (yes, like old people use) and put it in the shower cubicle so I could sit down. If you don't have access to that, even a plastic lawn chair or stool would work.

I had to tape plastic bags over my brace and the wound on my hip from the bone graft, but all of this made it possible to actually shower. I didn't have the energy to wash my hair more than once a week so it can get pretty gross in between, but dry shampoo or even talcum powder can help with that.

Carrying Things

Crutches are a major pain when it comes to trying to carry anything. I fell in love with my yoga pants and lounge pants with large pockets as it meant I could carry my phone or a snack from room to room. On days I didn't have that, I used a small cross-body purse to keep my phone with me at all times (I didn't want to fall and be stuck without any way of calling for help).

For larger items, I quickly figured out that there were only two real ways that worked for me: a messenger bag across the body, or plastic or cotton shopping bags hung off the crutch handles. Both affect your balance and require even more concentration when moving around, but as you're by yourself... it's better than nothing. You could also try a backpack but it was quite late in my recovery before I could manage putting on a backpack around crutches and the twisting motion it needed to go onto my back.


If you can afford it, hire someone to come in and clean once a week. Vacuum and mop the floors, clean the bathroom, and change the sheets (all things I found virtually impossible on crutches).

Being at home and staring at the floor all the time when I was moving around meant the dust on the floor was really bugging me! The feeling of being in a clean house when you're home in it all the time is really beneficial for mental health.

Moving Around

I injured my arm from my crutches and was miserably moving around the house in even more pain until I had a brainwave and ordered a rolling office chair - the kind of office chair with wheels.

This was a total game changer and took some of the pressure of my arms and good leg - and even made it possible to carry things again! I could just push myself around with my good leg. It completely changed my mood and recovery, as finally I could make an carry a cup of coffee, or lunch, without loading everything into a thermos or a shopping bag and awkwardly hanging it off my crutches.

If you have stairs in your house, I highly recommend moving onto one floor for a while, wherever you are closest to the bathroom and the kitchen, even if it means you're sleeping on the couch for a while. Stairs are no joke on crutches; you can go up and down on your butt but you're doing to be expending a lot of energy to do it.


You're going to be alone. A lot.

I recommend reaching out to people as much as you can. A lot of people reached out to me when they heard about my injury so if they asked what they could do, I said come over if your in the neighbourhood. Not everyone took me up on it but enough that I didn't have multiple days by myself.

If people offer to visit or to bring food or anything, take them up on it! Not everyone, but more people than you'd think are happy to help. I had one lovely friend bring me enough food for three days - because she'd broken her ankle while living alone and she knew how the experience was.

It's also time to reactivate your Zoom account, like it's the pandemic again. When you're up to sitting up a bit more, organise Zoom calls as much as you can handle with more distant friends and relatives. I didn't have much to talk about other than my injury, but if you ask people to tell you about the world outside most people are happy to do it.


Being stuck in bed isolated from the world outside can be lonely. In the very early days of my recovery when I didn't have the concentration for reading or complex TV shows, I watched a lot of Youtube.

There are many excellent videos where you can essentially travel from your bed. I was fascinated by walking videos in Havana, Cuba or London, England or more intrepid travellers going to off-beat places like Ghana or Syria and intereviewing people who lived there.

Ask For Help

It's really tempting to want to be as independent as possible and not bother people if you're alone at home with a broken leg. But if you're wanting your leg to heal properly, that means not pushing yourself beyond your energy or limited capabilities.

So, this the time you need to rely on others the most. Try to let other people help as much as possible. If they ask what they can do, ask them to bring home-made food or something to read. If someone comes by, don't hold back on asking them to take out the garbage, refill your water, or check the mailbox. If someone offers to get you groceries, take them up on it.

Most people really ARE happy to help you. It feels weird to ask, but honestly I think your friends would be more insulted if you were stuck at home with a broken leg and didn't ask them to help!

If you really are stuck without people you know to help, there are sites like TaskRabbit or Airtasker where you can hire people to do small tasks.

Alternatives to Staying Home

If you live somewhere really difficult to manage by yourself - say a fifth floor apartment with no elevator - seriously consider checking into a hotel with room service for a couple of weeks.

That way you don't have to worry about cleaning, cooking, feeding yourself, the distance between your bed and the bathroom is probably going to be way smaller, and there is always someone around in case you need assistance.

Good luck in your recovery! If you want to find out how to heal your fracture as fast as possible, check out the 6 Step Tibia Healing Guide.

Who Am I?

Hi, I'm Kate Hill. I had a skiing accident and smashed by tibial plateau in a dozen pieces, leading to major surgery and then months on crutches.

I spent that time researching EVERYTHING about my injury and recovery, and was back on my feet walking again in almost record time.

I've put it all together in a guide called The 6 Steps to Faster Tibia Healing - so you don't have to go through what I went through.

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