3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Physical deficits

Physical deficits

17) Getting up and down stairs video

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This short film shows a technique to safely manage stairs after stroke. If you have any individual concerns about your own stairs at home or the person’s ability to manage stairs, ask to speak to a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or stroke nurse.

If possible use a handrail or banister to help with balance and safety.

As a general rule the person should always go down steps with the weaker leg leading first. This keeps the weaker leg straight and the stronger leg takes more of the weight over the knee when it is bending.

Put both feet on each step rather than trying to take alternate stairs. This is safer and will also help the person to slow down and concentrate on each step.

To go up stairs the person should lead with the stronger leg first. Again, this is so the stronger leg takes most of the weight when moving. The weaker stroke affected leg will be straighter and requires less effort for each step.

Remember strong leg up first – weak leg down first . A silly way to remember this is “use good leg to heaven – and the bad leg to hell”.