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Crutches and children - stairs

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Taking stairs with crutches can be tricky and scary. Learn how to help your child take stairs safely.

Teach your child to put his weight on the uninjured foot and leg when going up or down stairs. Walk behind your child when going up stairs, and walk in front of your child when going down stairs.

Your child may find it easier to scoot up and down the steps. Using the hands and good foot, your child can scoot up or down the stairs using the bottom.

Tell your child to think UP with the good foot or leg and DOWN with the bad foot or leg.

To go upstairs, tell your child to:

  • Put the good foot on the step and push up.
  • Push down hard on the crutches to help lift up too.
  • Lift the crutches and the bad leg up to the step. Both legs and crutches are on the same step now.
  • Do it one step at a time.
  • Repeat this until completely up the stairs.

If there is a handrail, have your child hold both crutches in one hand or you can hold the crutches for them. Hold the handrail with the other. Step up with the good leg. Bring the crutches up to the step. Repeat for each step.

To go down stairs, tell your child to:

  • Lower the crutches to the step.
  • Put the bad foot out in front and down the step.
  • Balance on the crutches and step down with the good foot. Keep the bad foot out in front.
  • Do it one step at a time.

References

American Academy of Othopaedic Surgeons website. How to use crutches, canes, and walkers. orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/how-to-use-crutches-canes-and-walkers. Updated February 2015. Accessed November 18, 2018.

Edelstein J. Canes, crutches, and walkers. In: Webster JB, Murphy DP, eds. Atlas of Orthoses and Assistive Devices. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019 chap 36.

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          Review Date: 11/5/2018

          Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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