Going up and down stairs

Using crutches

Opinions vary on whether it’s safe to use crutches to go up and down stairs after ankle replacement surgery. In the first few days and weeks at home after your operation, limit stair climbing to one round trip per day if possible. (Before they’re allowed to bear weight, some patients opt to manage stairs at home by going up and down while sitting their bottoms.) 

Once you begin climbing stairs, be sure to hold onto the railing at all times to keep your balance.  It’s important that all stair railings, both in and outside your home, are sturdy and secure.

Using a cane

If you’ve progressed to bearing weight on your ankle, your surgeon or physiotherapist may give you permission to use a cane for support. Here’s how to manage the stairs using a cane: 

  • Put your hand on the railing. Hold the cane in the hand opposite your operated leg.
  • If possible, start UP the stairs with the foot of your unoperated leg.
  • Lift your cane and your operated leg at same time as you step up.
  • Take one step at a time. Don’t move until you feel strong and steady.
  • Always start DOWN the stairs with your cane and the foot of your operated leg. Now move the foot of your unoperated leg down onto the same step.