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The First Enemy of the Republic: Stairs June 13, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Advice, Personal Experience.

In my two-legged life, I’m afraid of escalators. It’s not a crippling fear, I can still use them, it’s more of the irrational “one of these days I know I’m going to get sucked under” variety. Thanks to crutches right now I’d rather ride an escalator in a wedding dress with full veil than take the stairs.

It’s not just the fact that I have to hop my entire body weight on one leg to get up one stair (and then repeat ad nauseum). It’s more that I’m convinced the stairs are out to get me. Going up and down stairs on crutches requires intense concentration, and if you’re not paying attention, the stairs will try and claim you as their own. (So much for being greeted as a liberator) Here are my tips for survival gleaned from 2 weeks of crutch use and 10 minutes of instruction from the physiotherapy gals at the hospital:

  1. If there’s a handrail, only use one crutch. Generally the handrail can support a lot of weight and provides greater stability than two crutches.
  2. Going upstairs: Keep the crutch one stair below the one you’re ascending. You can really hurt yourself if you try to hop up to it.
  3. Going downstairs: Move your crutches down before your body. Swing your injured foot out over the stair first, then step down.
  4. Really freaked? Go downstairs by sliding on your butt. If anyone judges you, hit them with your crutches. After all, for the first time in ages – you’ve got two hands free!


1. B - June 17, 2006

very amusing blog, i spent 2 months of my life in a hospital with two broken legs among other things, and then 5 months, in a wheelchair, on crutches and then learning to walk again, and i can relate to what you’re writing about. you seem to be doing well though, keep it up.

2. Lynda - April 10, 2007

I can’t take credit for the idea,becuase I read it on this, or another broken ankle website but if you bum up the stairs, and have a low stepstool at the top of the stairs, with a chair behind, you have 2 more steps to bum up. and voila, you are on the top of the stairs, sitting in a chair, and you only have to stand up. It’s way better than bumming up the stairs, only to get to the top and then thinking “now what”, how do I get up? I only wish I’d read that 5 weeks ago, since I haven’t slept upstairs in my bed since the fateful day. Try it… you’ll be amazed.

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