Ever tried walking upstairs with a glass of water, trying not to spill a drop? Now imagine doing it with a walker. For those requiring assistance, mastering the art of using a walker on stairs, especially non-weight bearing, can be challenging. But don’t fret! We’re here to guide you.

What is Non-Weight Bearing?

Let’s kick off with the basics. Non-weight bearing, often abbreviated as NWB, is a medical term. It means an individual must not put any weight on a particular limb, usually due to surgery or injury. Think of it as a ‘do not touch’ sign for your foot.

Importance of Non-Weight Bearing

Why is it crucial? Not following non-weight-bearing instructions can delay healing, worsen the injury, or lead to complications. Ever overwatered a plant and watched it wither? That’s what happens when we don’t heed the NWB sign.

The Right Walker: Making a Choice

Types of Walkers

Like shoes, walkers come in various shapes and sizes. There’s the standard walker, the wheeled walker (or rollator), and the knee walker. Your choice depends on your needs and the nature of your injury.

Features to Look For

Got a checklist? Add these features:

  • Sturdy frame: Like a reliable friend, it won’t let you down.
  • Gripped handles: Slippery hands? No problem.
  • Adjustable height: Because we’re not all built the same way.

Steps to Use a Walker on Stairs

Preparing the Walker

Start by ensuring your walker is set at the right height. Your wrists should align with the handles when standing upright. Remember, balance is key!

Going Up the Stairs

  1. Place the walker at the base of the stairs.
  2. Step up to the first step using the handrail and your good leg.
  3. Lift the walker onto the step.
  4. Repeat. And remember good leg leads!

Going Down the Stairs

  1. Place the walker on the top step.
  2. Move your injured leg down to the next step.
  3. Using the handrail, step down with a good leg.
  4. Bring the walker down. And remember, the injured leg leads this dance!

How To Adjust a Walker on Stairs Non-Weight Bearing

Navigating stairs with a walker while maintaining a non-weight-bearing stance can be like solving a puzzle. The trick? Adjusting your walker perfectly. Just as you’d calibrate a musical instrument to get the best tune, tweaking your walker can ensure safety and ease. Let’s break down the steps for you.

1. Check the Walker’s Height

Before even attempting the stairs, ensure that the walker is set at the correct height for you:

  • Stand straight and let your arms hang down.
  • The walker’s handles should align with the crease of your wrist.
  • If they don’t, adjust the walker’s legs. Most walkers have push buttons that allow you to set the height.

Tip: Trust your instincts and readjust if the walker feels too low or too high. Comfort is key!

2. Ensure Stability

Make sure all four legs of the walker are touching the ground. On stairs, especially, uneven legs can lead to instability.

Tip: First, place the walker on a flat surface to check for any wobbling, then adjust as necessary.

3. Check the Grips

The grips of your walker are your primary point of contact and control:

  • Ensure they are tightly fastened and not worn out.
  • If the grips feel slippery, wrap them with a tennis grip or any non-slip material for extra safety.

4. Adjust the Walker on the Stairs

When navigating stairs:

  • Start by placing the walker at the base (when going up) or the top (when going down).
  • Move it one step at a time, ensuring all legs are stable on each step before proceeding.
  • If the stairs are narrow, consider tilting the walker slightly to fit, but always maintain stability.

5. Use the Handrails

Whenever possible, use the handrails for added support:

  • Keep one hand on the walker and one on the handrail.
  • This provides a dual grip and reduces the reliance solely on the walker.

6. Consider Additional Accessories

Some walkers come with attachments or accessories that can aid in stair navigation:

  • Look into skis or coasters that attach to the back legs. These can help glide the walker upwards without lifting it entirely.
  • Rubber tips or non-skid feet can add extra grip.

Safety Tips

Proper Maintenance

A well-maintained walker is like a well-oiled machine. Check for loose screws or worn-out parts regularly.

Walker Placement

Always ensure the walker is on a stable surface. A wobbly walker on stairs? That’s a recipe for disaster.

Hand and Body Posture

Keep your back straight, hands gripped firmly and always look ahead. Think of it as your posture when taking a proud walk in the park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any walker on the stairs?

No, always ensure your walker is sturdy and fit for stairs.

What if there’s no handrail on the stairs?

It’s recommended to always use stairs with a handrail for added safety.

How often should I check my walker for maintenance?

Regularly. Once a week is a good rule of thumb.

Is a rollator better than a standard walker for stairs?

Rollators are usually not recommended for stairs due to their wheels.

Can I use a knee walker on stairs? 

Knee walkers are not designed for stairs. Stick to standard walkers.

Ready to Master the Stairs?

Walking stairs with a walker, especially non-weight bearing, might have felt like trying to climb Everest at first. But remember, every summit is reached one step at a time. Now, equipped with the knowledge and techniques, you’ve got the tools to tackle each step confidently. 

Take a deep breath, ensure your safety, and march forward! Soon, those daunting stairs will feel like just another walk in the park. Ready to take the leap (or step)? Grab that walker and conquer your world, one stair at a time!

Jose Alpuerto

Written by

Jose Alpuerto

With a heart that beats for the young and young-at-heart alike, Jose dives headfirst into the world of tech wizardry and safety gadgets, all with the mission of turning aging at home into an adventure. Armed with a keyboard and an unquenchable enthusiasm, he spins tales of gadgets that bring laughter and ease to the lives of the elderly, proving that growing older doesn’t mean you can’t keep the spirit of play alive.