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Crutches on stairs: can anybody help?!

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Lilybett, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. I have a cast from my toes to my knees following a broken ankle. I'm not supposed to put any weight whatsoever on the affected foot and I'm on crutches. I broke it 8 days ago and am still in pain. I was borderline for needing surgery to put pins and Lord-knows-what in it, and I'm back in for X-rays at the end of the week to see how things look and I REALLY don't want them to cut me open and stick pins in me!!!
    I'm getting quite good at learning cheats, e.g. there's an office chair upstairs so now I just roll round everywhere on that, clean me teeth sat down, etc. It's the STAIRS that are the killer. The nurse said to just inch up and down on my bum, which is fine, but it's when I'm coming up and I get to the top that there's the problem. I just find it absolutely impossible to get up again! EVERY TIME I'm at the top of the stairs I end up in tears and I always have to put weight on my ankle, which is agony and I really shouldn't be doing, so I'm scared it's going to affect my recovery. I only make the trip up and downstairs once per day but it's driving me mad and it never gets better!!
    I either have to crawl on my knees into the bedroom, and pull myself up against the bed, but it's impossible not to put any weight on either foot doing that. Or I have to stand up on the top step and put weight on the bad ankle to step onto the landing, because of which side the bannister's on. Any tips? I've been googling it, but all the results are about those American crutches that go right up into your armpits.... [​IMG]
    Thanks in advance, crutch-survivors xx
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I'm astounded that you were sent home without physio to ensure you could manage stairs. Contact your GP and ask to see a physio urgently. Stairs aren't particularly difficult on crutches when you know how.
  3. I've seen a lot about physios when I've been googling. I assumed the physio-talk was American cos they paaaaaaaay! [​IMG]
    Thank you for replying xxx
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Nope - I've had a hip replaced twice and a broken ankle (all at different times) and each time I was taught to do stairs before I was allowed to go home.
    You could try looking at some of the youtube stuff - some of it looks okay and it's a damned sight more sensible than going up or downstairs on your backside:

  5. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Going up you put your foot up first, then follow with the crutches.
    Coming down, the crutches go first, then you follow with your foot.
  6. Hahahah my hands are sweating just thinking about it!!! Esp going down! xx
  7. I was in plaster years ago up to the knee and last year had a knee arthroscopy so had to keep my weight off one leg. I'm a bit confused as to why you need to put any weight on your bad leg when going up stairs!! If the bannisters are on the 'wrong' side then is it not possible to either be backwards or forwards? Is your good leg not strong enough to enable you to push up with that leg? Or can you not hop?
    Sorry if I sound very unhelpful I'm just trying to visualise the problem. [​IMG]
  8. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Can you not just sit on the steps facing the bottom of the stairs an inch your way up backwards, pulling the critches alongside you every few steps? This way, you get a nice tricep workout too and everyone's a winner [​IMG]
  9. Hi Lilybett,
    Been following this and your other thread with interest cos I'm in exactly the same position - broke my ankle over the holidays, am now signed off work and am facing the challenges of getting round the home! I have to make the trip up and downstairs several times a day and it was hell at first but is getting better.
    Putting weight on the bad ankle doesn't sound like a very good idea. I crawl into the bedroom from the top of the stairs, then I have a soft pouffe thing which I use to pull myself up - kneeling on it with the bad leg whilst holding onto the bed - this frees up the good leg for support. It's a bit time consuming (as is everything!) but seems to work well.
    In hospital I was shown how to go up and stairs upright using crutches, but like you I'm not keen to use that method at home. I am getting used to the crutches though, and have also got myself a wheelchair to get around the ground floor of the house and enable me to go out. I have a computer chair in almost every room!
    I'll keep watching your threads for good ideas to fill in the time! Take care x

  10. I'm so appreciative of everybody who has taken the time to reply to this thread.
    Haha I dunno if it's the stairs (they're very shallow, and steep, eek) or me or a combination of the two but you have NEVER seen anything as undignified as me, flailing around on that top step! I'm not unfit and I wouldn't say I'm weak either, so I don't know why I'm having so much trouble, then! But noo, I can't pull myself up just on my left leg without putting SOME weight on the broken side. What a loser! xxx
  11. Hello, broken ankle-buddy! When and how'd yer do it? Are they pinning you or just cast + crutches? How long are you signed off work? Have you got painkillers? The only things I'm enjoying are being waited on hand and foot and 60mg codeine which makes me delightfully stoned and drowsy!
    Ah the stairs! I know the more I do it the easier it'll get (probably) but it always ends with me, beached on the top step, hot tears of frustration pouring down my cheeks, repeating "ow". Big hooray for the wheely office chair, though! I found one upstairs and it has changed everything. I'm even able to wash my hair, if I sit kiiinda uncomfortably on it and seriously leeean over the shower but it's worth it. I've even been putting makeup on just to loaf around the house lol, makes me feel good. [​IMG]
    So what have you done so far with your unexpected time off? I spent yesterday planning and having snacks brought to me; today has flown by and all I've done is a little shopping on Amazon, washed my hair and painted my toenails ahead of Fracture Clinic tomorrow. Were it not for the tyranny of the stairs, this really wouldn't be a bad life! xxx
  12. Hi again, nice to have a broken ankle buddy! [​IMG]
    Sounds like we are having a similar experience here! I did mine about a week before Christmas - lost my footing on the stairs and fell heavily. I was in hospital for quite a while, had surgery to pin the joint & have been at home about a week now. I've got paracetamol and codeine but I'm not taking either much at the moment cos the pain isn't too bad. It's more the discomfort, and the increasing revelation that you simply can't do all the things you want to! But I keep reassuring myself that it will mend and is only temporary (when I'm not cursing it that is).
    The wheely office chairs are great, as is just about anything you can hold on to in your immediate environment. The increased time it takes to do simple stuff (e.g. washing hair) takes some getting used to. If you're anything like me you'll also be realising that your house is more of an obstacle course than you ever imagined, with random steps, bumps, things to knock over and so on. [​IMG]
    I've done some work planning, online shopping, a bit of reading, a lot of Facebook and watched some DVDs, but getting used to the boredom is still a challenge. (If one more person says "Now's the time to write your novel".....!)
    Hope Fracture Clinic goes well, keep in touch!

  13. Hi. Not sure if this will help you but thought I`d share my experience. In the summer I had an ankle to mid thigh leg brace on for 6 weeks and was not allowed to place any weight through this leg. I found walking up a few steps with the crutches ok when out and about, but our steep narrow stairs with no bannister at home required going up and down on my bottom. The solution I found was to keep a very low stool at the top of the stairs. I was able to pull myself backwards onto this once at the top of the stairs. From this height I could then use my crutches to stand without placing weight on the bad leg. Good luck with it all.
  14. That sounds very sensible! Ooh and I've discovered I can make my office chair, like, teeeny! OOH I'M EXCITED TO TRY THIS!!! Thank you! xxx
  15. Hope you are both managing well, stair problem - my delightful OH fitted a couple of temporary hand rails at the top of the stairs when I was on crutches, as the rail ran out and I couldn't get up and turn the corner, cost about three quid on ebay.
  16. That IS a delightful other-half you have!
    Thanks again for the little stool at top-of-stairs suggestion. When I make my wheely chair as low as possible, I can pull myself up onto it from the top steps without putting too much weight on my bad leg. Really grateful for that idea xxx
    Was really worried about Fracture Clinic this morning cos I've been having quite a lot of pain and because those blooming stairs are making it impossible to COMPLETELY keep weight off it but it's all good! My (hot!) consultant was positively ecstatic with the X-Rays ("Well done, well done, well done you!") and says he can already see the bone healing on them and I am a "very good lass" for following all of his instructions [​IMG]
    Hot doctors definitely help. [​IMG]
    Thinking about starting some planning for next half-term. While my colleagues are in worksheet heaven I am going to blow everyone out of the water with week-upon-week of whizzy lessons. Yay xxxxx
  17. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation but glad that your ankle seems to be healing
    I recently got back upstairs after spending 11 MONTHS living downstairs owing to a complex knee injury
    The things that made my life easier while I was living downstairs were things that the OT and Physio lent me
    - a wheely walking frame with a seat which lets me put some of the weight onto my arms and also means I can sit down if I need to
    - a raised toilet frame for the loo
    - another toilet seat to use as a shower stool so that I couls shower sitting down
  18. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    Been there, done that and bear the scars to prove it! I had a chair at the top of the stairs and could pull myself up onto that. I also had one just inside the front door as I couldn't manage the high step & threshold.
    As far as stairs go, if you are doing them upright as opposed to on your backside, the way I was told is: good leg to heaven, bad leg to hell. Going up, your good leg goes first whilst you bear your weight on your crutches, then take your crutches up to meet the good leg, On the way down, stand on your good leg, whilst you put the crutches down a step, then bear your weight on them as your good leg goes down a step. Your good leg should always be higher than or level with the bad one.
    Non weight-bearing is really horrid, but it gets easier as soon as you are allowed to put weight on it. When the plaster comes off, make sure you ice the joint - nobody told me to do it, and it put my recovery off quite badly. As soon as I started to do it, my progress improved, but it was still a month before I could drive again [​IMG] Good luck!
  19. Thanks for the replies!
    Breaking a bone is probably something to tick off that list of stuff to do before you die.
    I'm in a jolly mood cos I've been on two separate pub trips today. Both were only a couple of hours long but it was SO GOOD to get out. Also, having not drunk for a couple of weeks, I was tipsy off a couple of glasses of wine [​IMG]
    Definitely picking up tips all the time. Stairs are absolutely no problem now, after that fab suggestion about the little chair at the top. Yay. I also HATED the front door cos of the big step down, but I go on my bum from the bottom of the stairs, sit on the dreaded step and pull myself up onto crutches. Coming in, I crawl on my knees to the bottom of the stairs and pull myself up that-a way. So the stairs are actually very HELPFUL! Somebody should REALLY tell leg/ankle fracture VICTIMS this practical stuff for getting around their homes in A&E, instead of just thrusting a pair of crutches into your hands and merrily waving you off. That is my only complaint about the NHS cos I love it and everybody at Fracture Clinic has been absolutely brilliant (and hot).
    Feeling really good, feeling like I have some independence back and that I can manage to go places. Absolutely no pain from the ankle anymore, which = no painkillers, which = WINE!
    Thank you for the ice tip. I'm probably being a bit naive, but I'm kiiinda imagining: go in, get the plaster off, say farewell to Dr. McDreamy, go home and shower all the **** off my leg, then go out DRINKING AND DANCING! .......No?!
    How is my Fracture Buddy doing?

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