How To Climb Stairs Safely With A Cane

This can be tricky if you don't know how! 

First, make sure your cane is adjusted to the correct height. Ask your physio to do this. If you don't have access to a physio, look at my blog entitled "how to get your cane height right."

The general rule for stair climbing is put the good leg up first when going up, and put the affected leg first when going down. 

With a rail

Facing forwards, put the cane in the opposite hand to to rail.

Going up

  1. Take the first step up with the good leg. Leave the cane on the step with your affected leg. (Unless your physio asks you to do this differently). Take weight through the cane and rail when stepping up with your good leg. 
  2. Then move the cane followed by the affected leg.

Going down

  1. Hold the rail. Put your cane down first, then your affected leg. 
  2. Step down with the good leg.

What happens if you don't have a rail? 

If your physio tells you that you are ok with just one cane, (you could use 2 for more support on steps with no rail), then:

Keep the cane in the hand opposite your affected leg, as you would for normal walking and follow the general rule for stairs. 

Put your good leg up first when going up, and your cane then affected leg down first when going down. 

This link has some nice pictures to make everything clear.

http://www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca/documents/Patient%20Education/SafeStairClimbingCane-th.pdf

R. Sian Owen PT

Registered Phystiotherapist