Pain Concern
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Is Arthritis in multiple leg sites going to cause Physio Problems?

I haven Osteoarthritis in left foot/ankle, both knees, and left hip. I am booked to have my hip replaced next month. However, I can ONLY climb stairs leading with my Left leg, as my R knee won't bear weight when bent, and only go down leading with my Right, for the same reason. In addition, my right foot boosts me upwards, when climbing stairs.

Apparently, this is the opposite method of climbing stairs decreed by the Physios when on the stairs. They want me to lead UP with my R leg, and DOWN with my L, but try as I might the only way I can get UP that way is by taking the whole of my weight through my crutches, somewhat difficult, and impossible for more than a couple of steps, and going DOWN by dangling my L leg in mid air, reaching for the step below, then hopping off the step above, and hoping that I land safely on the step below! I can only do that from the step above a landing, as I afraid of overshooting!

Has anyone had a similar set of problems when having their hip done? I have been told that this may lead to my being kept in Hospital until I CAN climb in the approved manner, or made to move into a nursing home. As I am only 56, neither appeals, but will I be unable to climb steps in future? Should I try to sell up, and buy a Bungalow? What has been the attitude of the physios? I have been told that I am just being difficult, and asked if I don't want the surgery! I should say that I am Obese (BMI>40).

Advice Please!!

3 Replies

Hello emb398

Lots there that seems to be worrying you. If your surgeon thought you weren't suitable for the op he wouldm't have agreed to do it.

It is too easy for physios to say this is what you do during recovery without actually looking at you as an individual. You will not be kept in hospital any longer than ned cos that costs too muh!

Neither will they release you inless you can look after yourself or have someone who can help you.

Go through all the problems you have mentioned and see if there is an alternative. Could you sleep downstairs for example? It wouldn't be for long and no stairs then.

I broke my ankle badly and could not use crutches. Had a special folding zimmer fram curtesy of Australian NHS! I would go up one back doow step baclwards. Not ideal but no choic.

My David is due to have replacement and he has similar to you. God lef being operated on and no strength whatsoever in other. His main worry is what pain relief will they give him as he is pretty high dose now.

Speak with your GP, physio and pain consultant if you have one. Tell them your fears and concerns. Make them listen.

As to living in a bungalow - best thing we ever did but maybe a bit extreme so soon before your surgery!

Hope this helps

Pat x


See a massage therapist. There is a possibility that the muscles in the legs may be to tight. Getting the muscles stretched out could make a considerable difference to the strength in your legs.

When you hold on to your crutches have the hand grip as light as you can get it.

The tighter the hand grip the weaker the legs will become though the phenomena of spinal reflexes.

Hope this helps


I can't say I have a solution for your problems. I have a very unusual way of negotiating steps that includes going down them backwards. Means I can drop my foot behind me,then kind of lower myself down while holding the handrail. Works for me, but would probably horrify a physio.


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