Going Up & Down Stairs Safely with an Injured Leg – Ask Doctor Jo

Wheeee! Whew! Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo.
Since most people aren’t gonna be able to go down the steps like that if they have an
injury to one of their legs, I’m gonna show you how to go up and down the steps, the safe
way, if you’re injured. So we have several sayings to help us remember how to go up and
down steps in the therapy world. I like to always tell people “Go up with the good, down
with the bad.” You might also hear “good things go to heaven, bad things go the hell.” And
so what you’re gonna do, is you want when you’re going up, the good’s gonna go up first,
so if my left side is injured, I’m gonna step up with my right because it’s powering it
up, and I don’t have to use that left side as much. Powering up. Powering up. Then you
want to go down with your bad, so my left side is the bad one, I’m gonna bring it down
first, and then my right’s gonna come. And that is because the foot that’s on the top
of the step is gonna be the one doing the work. So that scares people a lot, but this
one’s doing the work, so you want the good one on top, the down one, the bad one, going
down. So there you go, just like that. Alright, there you have it, going up with the good.
Going down with the bad. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section,
and if you’d like to check out some more videos, go to AskDoctorJo.com. And remember, be safe,
have fun, and I hope you feel better soon. Wheeee!


  1. Sure! I have a blog post about foot cramping on my website if you want to check it out in the foot/ankle section. In the meantime, you can check out my plantar fasciitis video. Those stretches should help with the foot cramping! Good luck!!

  2. There is an exercise for your toes where you put a towel down, and just try to crumple the towel up with your toes. I would say that is more a strengthening exercise instead of a stretch though. I will try to get a toe/foot cramping video up soon!!

  3. hi doctor.. could you please give me advice for my Two questions !
    the first one is : which sport better walking or going up & down stairs ?
    and the second : is stairs sport damage the knee cartilages ??

    i will be happy if you answer me , thanks 🙂

  4. I think it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Walking is a good cardio and overall workout, but going up and down stairs helps strengthen your legs more by working the large muscle groups.

    Going up and down stairs will not damage cartilage as long as you are going up and down correctly!! I hope that helps!! Good luck!!

  5. thanks alot alot and alot <3 ,,, but excuse me doctor how would i know if i go up and down correctly ? did you mean as in this video ? i tried but it is a little bit make my steps slowly :(( .. my problem is i am trying to Get off my weight in " the fats beside thighs"" ,Buttocks and the Backside ………:((( please hellpp mee with fast thing at least i wanna see change in one month :'(

    thanks ..

  6. If you don't have an injury, then you can go up and down the steps in a normal pattern, but try not to bend your knees way in front of your toes. If you want to check out my knee strengthening video, it will tell you more about the correct technique I was talking about!!

  7. I was doing this totally backwards, maybe that's why my knee still hurts. I'm going to do it your way. Thank you! : )

  8. Which one is the best pattern dr.jo, heel to toe or toe to heel when I go up-down the stairs. 4months ago i got orthoscopy meniscus repair in my left knee.

  9. If you can, I would lead with your heel going down the stairs. When you flex your foot, so the heel hits first, your muscles will contract, so they will be ready to take on the weight when you step. Going up is similar, but your foot will be more flat, making sure you have complete contact before you push upward. I hope that helps! Good luck!!

  10. Thanks Doctor Jo!! This really helped me a lot because just recently I was at my uncles house ( he has wooden stairs and I had socks on ) I fell down it because I skipped a step because I was holding three pillows and I couldn't see how many more steps there were, so like my clumsy self, I fell down v.v My ankle does hurt sooo much though!

  11. I have a patient with bilateral Bledsoe in full extension after quad rupture and repair. Upper body is strong and patient wbat. Any suggestions besides scooting? Patient has study railings on each side but too far apart to reach both. Trying to figure out a way to do it upright for 3 steps, any tips?

  12. I shattered my left ankle and am just now putting 50% of my weight on my foot, using a walker.  Any advice on how to navigate stairs when your injured foot cannot take all of your weight?

  13. how do you do it with crutches? i cant bend my left leg right now so it's really hard for me to go upstairs. i cant use the right foot first because the left foot cant support my right leg

  14. Will try to remember. I have multiple sclerosis. The prob is I can't tell which one is a bad leg and which one is a good one. Another thing when going up and down the stairs, should it be toe to heel or heel to toe pattern?

  15. Thank you, it's very helpful. I strained a periformis muscle and the stairs in my apartment complex were KILLIN' me!! I've no idea, nor does my PT, how I did this, once on the right side last month, now on the left side. 🙁 So now I'm being much more careful during the healing process.

  16. I found sliding down on my butt to be fastest and most fun. Then I had a pain and ended up in surgery for my ruined tail bone which was a much bigger deal than my leg was.  DON'T SLIDE DOWN THE STAIRS

  17. Hi, I fractured my ankle a couple months ago and I just started walking on it with crutches a few days ago. I'm suppose to start work next week and I have to go up and down stairs to get in and out of the house. My problem though is my cam boot is so big it goes over the edge of the stairs and only fits if I turn it sideways. What would be the best way to use the stairs with this problem?

  18. how to do it when there is no handler aside – 2 years ago I slipped bad on icy streets I had broken ankle and already for 2 years I feel in panic when there are stairs without handler

  19. even if I use 1 crutches will that still work on my good leg to go up stairs when I go down use the crutches to help me go down

  20. Hey Doctor Joe,

    So I think I have level 2 ankle sprain and my ankle is really wobbly and I can't do it like what u did what do you think I should do because my room is upstairs so ya.

    Thanks Doctor Jo

  21. omg………… the angle that you placed the camera made it look like the stairs to my house even the handles or what ever ate the Same Coler that hallway and that door is the hallway to my kitchen and the door is the bathroom

  22. how do I go up and down the stairs when I'm a heavier guy and I cannot put any weight on my bad leg and I cannot bend it or Lift it in any way might have torn acl or another tendon and possible torn quadricep that has rolled up into my leg and i live alone

  23. I have a ingered leg and I will use my arms to go up and my feet to go down is that safe I will also go slow

  24. I had acl and meniscus surgery and I can't go up the steps bc I can't put any weight on my bad leg so how would I go up the steps

  25. i want to suggestion to you i got fumer fracture in my right leg bt my knee is nt bend pls suggest me how can i do….what time recovery and walk again

  26. i have a feeding tube to so i have to go down on my right ankle witch is the good one cause of the pain i have in my stomach i'm in a boot cast since nov.2016 and it has not healed my ortho is going back and forth about surgery again what do u think could be wrong that it is not healing

  27. Hi Doc! Will this work if I have a fractured fibula (undergo surgery) amd advised by my doctor touse aircast. I could use my weight while walking. Thanks

  28. Hi Jo,
    I just need to know, Do I have ACL tear or not.. since last 4 months before, I met with accident and repaired with IM nailing in Tibia and now its healing in good manner. whereas when I used stairs I feeling some problem.. I can go Up stairs using both leg
    whereas while coming down, I cant able to do it…while coming down if I can keep my left leg without any pain whereas for right leg.. I can use it but I doesnt have the control to keep it.. I mean I will be jumping.. — So can you tell, what may be the issue

  29. What is happening if you start to feel a slight twinge in your big toe doing this? I injured my foot recently, and am using a cane to help get around (using it properly, according to your other video), but I'm thinking I'm trying to keep my foot too rigid (can't flex it up or down without pain).

  30. hello my friend fell down from a train and injured her left leg lateral hip portion. she was treated by many doctors but was not healed. her pain is in the groin and the anterior thigh muscles. She walks like a waddling gate She lifts one side up while walking.. the problem is getting down the stairs. i have treated her with acupuncture but the pain while getting down is so much. Any help is appreciated.

  31. Is this also possible if I'm in a walking boot? I also go to college and some of the buildings don't have elevators (and some with no stair railings either). It's for a stress fracture so I don't need crutches or anything, I'm just worried about getting around without the rails.

  32. I have Charcot foot. I feel safer going down the stairs backwards starting with my good leg like I’m climbing down a ladder. Like you did going up only in reverse.

  33. I recently sprained my left knee, and I have to go up and down my basement stairs. This info will really help. Thank You. You’re the best. 👍

  34. i had frature of tibial spine in my left leg but not break my ACL ligament. only tier 1 which can be treated with plaster.
    Doctors given me suggestion for plaster on my leg for 2 month.
    I took bed rest 2 month with plaster.
    Now one year has been completed.
    But when i goes on stairs.. I feel there is less strength in my left leg.
    I can not walk on stairs like earlier.
    Sometime i become shame at the public palace. what should i do.
    i have done my leg exercise only one month in one year.
    Is there any exercise issue with my leg?? When will it become powerful.
    please reply…..

  35. Hlo maam i hav knee dislocation and i feel pain when i climb stairs but i have no option because i m working in a school and i have to climb stairs plz suggest me how to make my life easy with this dislocated knee plz rply thnx

  36. Hello Doctor Jo. I'm having serious difficulties in going up stairs which is a limitation. even though we may try to avert stairs they are always around. I use an orthoprosthetic brace on my right leg. use it for many years now, and they always have to be replaced as they get old. this new one I am using has ischiatic support which the previous one did not. it improves my posture walking and general fatigue and tiredness but I did not know or considered that it would be a limitation when going up stairs. as I do not have a great knee control I use it knee locked to walk. what can I do to ease my going up stairs? any techniques I can do? It is impossible to avert stairs always, as going up to a bus or any other transportation is impossible. if I try to go up stairs with the leg stretched my foot gets stranded on the step and can not climb. I can unlock the knee for the brace, but because I don't have great control am afraid to fall. thank you and best regards

  37. Hi! Very helpful. On my 6th month from an ORIF but my plates and screws are still in my fib&tib. I try to go up alternately without crutches since my doc said to wean myself. Going up alternately is fine but going down is a different story. It seems rhe edge of my plate is digging into my bone when I go down. Any tips?

  38. I hurt one of my legs. Im to scared to go up with my good leg because standing on the bad one i feel like it might give out. I want crutches but cant get them. I am not sure it would help tho

  39. I injured my left foot 2.5 years ago by dropping a composite deck board on my foot when we where building our new deck. I have a high tolerance for pain and continued walking on it. A few months later, I went to my podiatrist who ordered Xrays. They did not show the fracture. I managed the pain in my foot by changing my gait and not bending my foot. It wasn't until 2 years later that my pain began increasing and I requested a MRI. It showed a fracture of the proximal second metatarsal. I wore a boot 6 weeks and it began feeling better. I was told that xrays showed it was healing. The podiatrist and orthopedic doctor released me. After about 2 weeks of not wearing the boot, pain came back and now the pain is more frequent but not severe. I began doubting that the bone was healed. (The break did not show up in xrays, so why would doctors rely on xrays to show that it was healed?) I am disappointed in the podiatrist and orthopedic doctor and don't trust them now. I have seen a new podiatrist and had a MRI yesterday (no results yet). Do you think that my feelings of distrust in the first 2 docs is justified?

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