Jun 19 2012


Stairs and Crutches + Moon Boot Walking

Posted at 6:19 pm under Uncategorized

Since this topic keeps coming up:

I went poking around for an existing video to demonstrate. To my surprise, I couldn’t find anything on youtube that showed this method. So I just shot my own (which was easier than trying to explain this via typing).

Of course, if you have Candadian/elbow crutches, this is pretty much what you’re going to do anyway.

Thinking back, I think I learned this from my dad, when I was first on crutches as a little kid. He was a college football player, who had multiple knee injuries/surgeries, so he was very well versed/practiced in the use of crutches.

This may not be for everybody as it may require more than average upper body strength. But, if you can do it, I really think it makes stairs MUCH easier, safer, and faster.

The topic of how to walk in a cam boot often comes up too. Here’s a short little video that attempts to demonstrate a common mistake (that leads to uneven walking, and a lot of stress on your knee):

Instead of pushing your knee back… you initiate the step by pushing it (your knee) firmly forward. You’ll feel pressure, up the front of your shin, as your lower leg drives forward into the boot structure. As you do this, it naturally causes the boot to rotate - the heel will lift off the ground, and the boot will start to roll onto it’s “toe”. Then, from that position, with a bent knee, you step forward… pushing “down” to drive yourself forward. You’ve got to have the boot rotated forward enough so that the “press” (through the heel, with a relaxed ankle, you don’t want to try and press though your toes, via the hurt achilles) doesn’t start to rotate the boot back to flat. Rather, that press should drive you forwards, and as you extend, roll the boot even a little bit farther onto it’s toe as you complete the step.

21 responses so far

21 Responses to “Stairs and Crutches + Moon Boot Walking”

  1. kimjaxon 19 Jun 2012 at 8:14 pm 1

    Love it! Thanks, ryanb - nothing like a demo!

  2. normofthenorthon 20 Jun 2012 at 12:52 am 2

    Fascinating, Ryan! That is NOT the way I did it, nor have I ever seen it done that way before! I may have to dig the crutches out of the basement to see if I wish I had or not. My way(s) may be better for the fainter of heart than you. Maybe.

  3. starshepon 21 Jun 2012 at 12:23 am 3

    Very impressive. The stairs leading to my basement had no handrail. I tried going down them once in my crutches and it went well. The second time I missed the last step. Fortunately I was able to crash into my model railroad table with my arm to break the fall. I promptly installed a handrail after that. Looks like you have no handrail option for the steps in your video.

  4. Andrew1971on 22 Jun 2012 at 11:49 am 4

    I think people will need a lot of upper body strength and control to safely travel the stairs the way you show in the video.

    For me, 4 weeks into my healing, I prefer to stay house bound, I hop down the stairs using hand rails and scooch up them on my backside.

    That method in the video looks risky - I guess if I was forced to then I could do it, but given the choice and knowing that i’ll be off of crutches soon enough, I prefer not to take the risks involved.

  5. onhiatuson 24 Jun 2012 at 1:41 pm 5

    wow, this was cool. Thanks for posting. I’m off to go try this out… so thanks for the distraction and adding some “fun” for this whole miserable process too. Keep the tips coming!

  6. emmqon 11 Sep 2012 at 7:08 am 6

    Seriously cool - cheers and good timing for my PWB!

  7. darrynon 21 Nov 2012 at 8:50 am 7

    Hmm. Never seen this approach. Just tried it and not sure easier, but might take a little practice.

  8. alysbachon 21 Nov 2012 at 10:13 am 8

    I must say that America is so much more advanced than the UK in many things, however why are you still using what we would consider old fashioned crutches? We have the elbow crutches and have had for years in the UK. You can buy them really cheaply from Amazon.
    But a great demo. My stairs however are not wide enough for my boot so I am still downstairs

  9. ryanbon 21 Nov 2012 at 4:39 pm 9

    Early into my recovery, I got myself some elbow crutches (around here, they sometimes call them Canadian crutches). I agree that they work better in almost all situations. This stair method is really just a way to mimic the use of elbow crutches, with the older style. I’d recommend elbow/Canadian crutches to anybody who can get them. But, if you’re stuck with the old style - at least for me - this makes stairs a lot more manageable.

  10. Hillieon 23 Nov 2012 at 1:57 pm 10

    Hi Ryan

    I saw your videos previously but didn’t realise just how much room you had to play with when going up and down the steps. Good arm strength too. Would it be such a “piece of cake” with typically shorter internal stairs?

  11. ryanbon 23 Nov 2012 at 4:06 pm 11

    I picked those big wide open outdoor stairs for the purposes of video (to make it easy to see). To be honest, the narrower the stairs, the more secure I felt. On a really narrow staircase, you can bounce your shoulder/crutch off the wall if you lose balance to one side or the other ;-)
    Those stairs on the front of my house are spaced a little weird: 3 normal steps, then a big one, 3 normal steps, then a big one.. The “normal” guys are easy; getting through the big ones (in one step) was a bit of a stretch.

  12. kkirkon 23 Nov 2012 at 6:49 pm 12

    Thanks for the walking boot video. I’ve been trying to visuize this all week and it was much help. Do you happen to have a video to show how to do steps with the boot? Will that be possible?

    Also, with steps I found it easiest if I use one crutch on my good side and used the railing with my opposite arm, but I used your method Ryanb if I didn’t have any railing.

  13. ryanbon 23 Nov 2012 at 7:55 pm 13

    Sorry kkirk… I’m all out of video for you. Stairs with a boot comes in 3 phases: NWB, PWB, FWB.

    NWB: Well, that’s what the video shows.
    FWB: No crutches, at this point you’re just walking with a big weird shoe. When first starting out FWB, I think I tended to lead - going both up and down - with the booted foot.
    PWB: I was only PWB for 1 week. If I remember right, I think I mostly just went NWB on the stairs during this week.

    FWIW- when I first went to two shoes, I found ascending stairs was about the easiest thing to do. Going down, on the other hand, was quite a challenge. It was quite some time before I had the dorsi-flexion necessary to go down normally- the problem was stepping down with my “good” foot. So, don’t be surprised if/when it takes a while to acquire this capability.

  14. normofthenorthon 24 Nov 2012 at 2:23 am 14

    I too prefer to go DOWN stairs NWB with both crutches on the “good-leg” side, and a strong bannister on the other side. Going up, I just did the normal “leap of faith” crutch-walk, not yet having seen Ryan’s video. (My ATRs were almost 2 years ago and ~10 years ago!)

    But there’s a great trick for walking down stairs FWB “normally”, without either (a) always leading with the injured foot or (b) having lots of dorsiflexion. I’ve outlined it on my blog and lots of other places here, but basically it involves placing your “bad” foot (initially in the boot, then in a shoe) on the edge of the step, about half of your foot sticking out forward over air. Then as you step past that stair with your “good” foot, you just push your “bad” knee forward (ankle locked is fine) and “roll” over the edge of the step.

    I’m not going to make a video, but many people here have tried it, mastered it, and loved it. It relies on no DF ROM and no AT strength, and it places no stress on the AT, in a boot or in shoes. From a distance it looks just like the way everybody goes down stairs, and it’s just as smooth and fast. What could be bad??

  15. kkirkon 24 Nov 2012 at 2:23 pm 15

    Ryanb:Thanks agian for all the info. I’m going to bookmark this page.

    Norm: I will have to try out your technique as soon as I’m FWB. :)

  16. sspeedon 28 Nov 2012 at 2:05 am 16

    I had honestly never thought of doing it that way, it’s fast! With my ATF ligament construction this time I just got an iwalk-free and ditched the dang crutches! :)

  17. coleon 19 Jun 2013 at 11:47 am 17

    Great vid. Thanks for sharing. I will use the tip as I just started FWB in the boot.

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