Steps - The Tips and Trick You Need To Tackle Yours and Win!

Steps - Mission Possible!

words of wisdom for the climber.

Steps can be more daunting than a simple or not so simple threshold! One can be a bit more savvy and creative with one step vs. two or more. It's also easier to negotiate one large one than one small one. Large here meaning one that fits your entire walker or wheelchair on it. But, for all the different shapes and sizes out there... let's get started with our plan of attack.

What's holding YOU up?

First things first here! Before you climb your stairway, would you be inclined to even bound up them if you were healthy?

What am I getting at?

I've climbed thousands of various stairwells. Some belong in the dump, so in the burn pile and some in a palace.

Do your stairs belong under your feet?

Are they sturdy or are they rickety? Replace them.

Are there worn pieces of carpet hanging off them? Cut those pieces off or tape them down.

If they are wooden, are they cracked or rotting? Burn pile out back!

How about the railings? Any there?

Are they sturdy?

Will they hold falling weight? Yours or theirs?

Do you live where the snow and ice fly? How about no slip grips on the steps AND the handrails?

Are there height differences? Use bright tape on the edge of each one so that failing eyes can see them better.

Maybe your stair well is a mile long and will never be negotiable... a stair lift stair lift may be your best option, well, cheaper than moving anyway!

Bottom line, your safety goes only as far as what you step on will take you. Make them fit for a 300 pound king!

Remember when?

If you were at a Rehab Facility, you would have already been taught how to manage getting in and out of your home or up and down from floor to floor but, it's NOT the real thing! Coming home and facing the real thing, may be a slightly different, scary story!

Some things to keep in mind. The only safe way to ascend is under weight bearing as tolerated (WBAT)orders. What does that mean? WBAT means just that. You may put as much weight through your affected leg as you can tolerate. Ascending and descending steps will require this... and gingerly!

If you are toe touch weight bearing (TTWB) or partial weight bearing (PWB), wait till you are WBAT - that is your safest option.

Step Training Theology

Seems like the old adage remains through the years when it comes to climbing and descending those marvelous inventions:

The good (leg) goes up to Heaven: When climbing, good leg first

The bad (leg) goes down to Hell: When descending bad leg first

(Of course this physical therapy theology is not necessarily shared by the owner of this site!)

When you are climbing, your good leg should lead first. Think about it. It's your stronger leg... it's got to pull you up to the next level.

When descending, your weaker leg should lead first. Another thought moment; you stronger leg must lag behind to lower you to the next level... otherwise disaster is lurking... and it's not figured out until midway down, when it's too late.

For Weight Bearing As Tolerated
  • Tip #1 - When going down with a railing, fold your walker and use it for the other rail (always have assistance with ascending and descending until you are at no risk of falling).

  • Tip #2 - When ascending, it's easiest in most cases to back up to the next level then press down through your walker with your arms to hop up to the next one. Ideally, always keep all four legs of the walker in contact with the ground when at all possible.

  • Tip #3 - If you have two railings and you can use these as your walker or crutches, it's an option but an energy consuming one as usually railings are too far apart. Assess your own situation in this matter.

  • Tip #4 - You can always do the Boot Scootin Boogie! Sit and bump up or down on your tail end. It's not the easiest but you gotta admit, you won't have far to fall!

For Toe Touch or Partial Weight Bearing

  • Tip #1 - Only attempt climbing or going down if you are only dealing with one height variation. Otherwise, have someone lower you to a sitting position and bump down on your bottom. Do the same thing going up.

  • Tip #2 - If you have only one level to climb, back up to it and push through your walker with your arms to hop up to the next level with your good leg, stabilize and balance before pulling your walker up to the same level.

If you still don't feel confident in tackling your steps, maybe it's time for help. We can help you look for help! You may also want to work on specific exercises to strengthen your legs and help you gain the confidence you need to get up and down.


Wheelchair Exercise To Improve Strength

Physical Therapy Home Exercise Programs

Straight Leg Raises - Know When To Start These Crucial Exercises

Are stair lifts right for your steps?

Back to from Steps

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