Climbing Stairs With a Broken Foot

A broken foot makes climbing stairs a challenge.
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An active lifestyle offers many benefits, but it can also come with risks. A common one is breaking one or more of the small bones in your foot. This can require a rigid shoe or a cast, and either crutches or a cane, which can make life a little more challenging especially if your Nest or office features runs of stairs. As you recover, take stair navigation slow and easy.


    Throw rugs at the base of the staircase may have to be stored at least temporarily. You or Mr. Nestie can conduct a thorough examination of the stairs, including the treads, for lifted edges, popped nails or raveling carpet that can trip up your cast, boot, crutch, cane or healthy foot. If necessary, dry the stairs -- especially if they are linoleum, tile or marble. Keep the weight off your broken foot by grabbing the handrail nearest it for support.


    Your crutches need to fit well so you maintain leverage and balance. Rubber tips in good condition need to set securely onto the bottoms of the crutches. Tuck both crutches into the armpit opposite your broken foot. If you are not sure that you can handle both crutches with one hand, hand one crutch to someone else to hold while you climb the stairs, or have someone carry it up the stairs and leave it within reach at the top of the stairs, on the same side you are ascending. Hold onto the handrail a little ahead of your torso and place your crutches on the step just above the one you’re standing on. Lean slightly forward and hop up one step on your good foot -- but only after you have solid support with the handrail and paired crutches. Continue one step at a time until you reach the top. Reverse the process, climbing back down with both crutches and the handrail, to climb back down.


    If you are using a cane rather than a crutch to go up the stairs, place it on the next step up, well back toward the riser and not at the edge of the step. Lift your broken foot behind you and hop up onto the next step. It’s best to use the handrail to support most of your weight because a cane does not offer the same stability that a crutch does. If possible, have someone large and strong enough to stop you from falling right behind you, spotting you. Pause to regain your balance, move your hand higher up the handrail and your cane top to the rear of the next step, and hop up. Repeat until you have reached the top of the staircase. Go back down the same way, keeping your broken foot closest to the handrail.


    Going up the stairs on your backside is the least dignified way to reach the top, but if you have issues with balance or strength, it is also the safest. Sit on the stairs with your back to the top. Hold your broken foot up out of the way or have someone support it for you. Place your hands on the step above the one you are sitting on with a firm grip. Lean back slightly and press down with your palms as you push against the floor with your unbroken foot, lifting your buttocks up onto the step that your hands are on. If your shoulders and arms are strong and flexible enough, place your hands two steps up to climb the staircase a little more quickly.

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