Knee Replacement and Climbing Stairs

Knee Replacement and Climbing Stairs

Do you know which leg to put your weight on when going up the stairs?

Also, which leg should you put first when coming down the stairs?

Worried about your ability to climb stairs after knee replacement surgery?

So many people are apprehensive about stair climbing following knee joint arthroplasty that there are more than enough searches on internet with phrase “knee replacement and climbing stairs.”

I could relate to it because after arthroscopic surgery my mom was reluctant to do stair climbing for first few days so it is definitely a big deal for knee replacement patients.

Before knee replacement, many people are not able to climb stairs because of arthritic pain. Also, due to arthritis in the knees, patient’s joints are so deformed that they cannot bear even their own bodyweight and thus cannot climb stairs effectively and thus avoid doing it.

Knee muscles also become weak due to misuse or lack of use that they cannot climb stairs.

So what care should be taken to care for and resolve these issues?

How to go up the stairs?

Knee Replacement and Climbing Stairs

Obviously to climb stairs you should be able to bear all of your body weight on the same front leg which you are going to place on the stair. So for that to happen you must have good power in your quadriceps muscles along with good balance too.

If you are recovering from unilateral knee replacement and are confident about your non-operated leg strength then use that leg first to propel forward and up the stairs.

What about bilateral or double knee replacement cases?

I have seen so many times the knee replacement and climbing stairs is a major problem for bilateral cases. For them I would advice to do enough strengthening exercise before even attempting stairs.

Once ready you will be able to place weight on the leg which you feel comfortable with and are most confident about.

From my experience as a therapist I have noticed that people prefer to use their dominant leg first. So if you are a right hander like me, try with your right leg first and then follow up with your left. And if you are left handed, vice versa.

Also another factor which becomes important in the case of bilateral knee replacement surgery is having good arm and gripping strength. With good arm strength you can propel forward pretty easily by holding onto a rail.

Coming down the stairs?

I have noticed that people don’t generally have as many problems going up the stairs in comparison to coming down.

If you are experiencing this, you are not alone and all patients to certain extent carry this apprehension. The most important factor to take into account is that they are still not confident about the strength of their new knees; also often times there is a psychologically fear regarding pain (assuming that bending the knee may be painful).

A word of caution: if you avoid bending your knee enough to move down stairs, this can cause big problems in the future like joint stiffness or improper gait.

I am not trying to scare you guys, but this is what happens on a regular basis; the patient is left not being able to enjoy the real benefits of surgery.

So forget the pain and I hope I have answered to all those people who search for knee replacement and climbing stairs.

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Please if you have a real life experience or you liked what I have shared with you here please comment in comment section so that other people who read this can get benefited.

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