Improvements in technology have made modern hip surgery so effective that patients are often able to resume normal activities relatively quickly. In fact, physical activity, especially under the guidance of a therapist, is a key factor in recovery.
If your home has more than one level, you will undoubtedly have concerns about climbing stairs. Here are some guidelines to help you safely negotiate stairs while rebuilding your strength.
“Up with the good, down with the bad”
The fundamental rule of climbing stairs after hip surgery is to lead with your stronger leg. When descending, reverse the process and begin with your weaker leg. “Up with the good, down with the bad” is a saying recommended by orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists as a simple way to remember the procedure.
Always have support
Most residences include banisters alongside staircases. If your home does not, be sure to have some type of guardrail installed before you return home post-surgery. In the beginning, you may find it helpful to have someone assist you until you feel more comfortable.
Not all stairs are equal
Stairs are generally held to a standard height of approximately seven inches. There are exceptions, and you should avoid any steps that exceed that height.
Use walking aids
During the beginning of the recovery phase, you will most likely be using a walker, cane or crutch at various times. When climbing stairs, use the cane or crutch on the opposite side of your repaired hip. If you are using a walker, turn it sideways and lift the leading legs onto the first step, then proceed with your stronger leg followed by your weaker leg. Proceed up the stairs following the same pattern.
Ask questions as needed
Your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist will be happy to answer questions and offer helpful suggestions.
Hip surgery can provide you with an improved quality of life. Learn more by calling 602.466.7591 or visiting our website to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced orthopedic surgeons.