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Discharge Instructions: Using a Walker on Stairs and Steps

Your healthcare provider has prescribed a walker without wheels for you. (If your walker has wheels, ask your healthcare provider for different instructions.) To use your walker, you need to learn new ways to get around in your home and other places you need to go. Always use an elevator if one is available. If you have to use stairs, try to have someone below to guard you. A guard can stop you from falling if you lose your balance. “Up with the good and down with the bad” is an easy way to remember which leg to use first.

 

man using walker to climb up stairs; to climb downstairs

 

General guidelines

Tips to follow include: 

  • Remove things that may cause you to fall, such as throw rugs or electrical cords.

  • Arrange your household to keep the items you need handy. Keep everything else out of the way.

  • Keep your hands free by using a backpack, fanny pack, apron, or pockets to carry things.

Using your walker to go upstairs

Tips for going upstairs with your walker: 

  • Turn the walker sideways so the crossbar is next to you.

  • Put the front 2 legs of the walker on the step above you.

  • Hold the walker with one hand and the handrail with the other.

  • Support your weight evenly between the handrail and the walker.

  • Step up with the good leg.

  • Next, bring your injured leg up.

  • Then move the walker up to the next step.

Using your walker to go downstairs

Tips for going downstairs with your walker: 

  • Turn the walker sideways so the crossbar is next to you.

  • Put the back 2 legs of the walker on the step beside you.

  • Hold the walker with one hand and the handrail with the other.

  • Support your weight on your good leg.

  • Step down with the bad (injured) leg.

  • Support your weight evenly between the handrail and the walker.

  • Slowly bring your good leg down.

  • Then move the walker down to the next step.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

 

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