Stairs can be a challenge if you have a lower limb pain or injury. I use stairs a lot with hip and knee replacement recovery as part of the rehabilitation process.

As people have been walking up and down stairs their whole life you don’t stop to think how do I do that? What is the movement? What do I do differently going upstairs to downstairs? Can I carry things like washing or importantly cups of tea? Am I better at going upstairs rather than down stairs, or in some cases the other way round. What you have done before you had a mobility issue was a habit and automatic you did not think about it, you just did it.

This automatic response to stairs is perfect when there are no issues. Firstly people tend to worry about falling down stairs for obvious reasons, See Below

People never come to me with a worry about falling upstairs, its usually range of movement, rails and fitness and strength as stairs are demanding if you have limited movement, particularly when you have had a knee replacement. Bending your knee enough going up stairs can be a issue and stepping downstairs can be uncomfortable due to range of movement not the surgery. See Below!

Remember walking upstairs puts a load on your knees of 3 times your body weight and walking down stairs puts a load on your knees of 5 times your body weight. This is why people who have knee replacements struggle with stairs but for two very different reasons.

I use stairs to help build up some initial fitness but also importantly confidence. Lots of stairs at home can be steep have a turn and small to put your foot on. Compared to stairs in offices or public spaces which are shallower and have a big step surface to put your foot on. I start with using a step to step up and down on to get movement and foot position, then progress to 2, 3 etc then progress to alternate steps up and down as in the Video below.

Several benefits from moving up and down stairs facing the stairs are that it helps build confidence and coordinated strengthening of the lower leg muscles. It slows you down and makes you think, as its very different to normal its easier to adjust and change a habit.

Or Alternatively Check out my Energy Medicine Knee Replacement Rehabilitation Programme by


About the Author

Stephen Grinnell MSc Health and Rehabilitation
Pain and Physical Rehabilitation Specialist
Stephen has had his own Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic for over 11 years where he has treated well over 2500 people with lots of different pain and injury issues. Stephen’s personal physical rehabilitation journey started with a serious injury while on active service with the Royal Marines 25 years ago. This injury resulted in a long journey of complementary rehabilitation and two replacement hips. Stephen has developed his own bespoke treatment protocols using a variety of medical devices to help pain and inflammation resulting in accelerated recovery. Expert areas of focus are Plantar Fasciitis Treatment, Back pain issues particularly Lower Back and Sciatica and hip and knee replacement rehabilitation. Stephen previously had a successful academic career lecturing at a variety of Colleges and Universities in the Sports Science, Rehabilitation and Training areas. Stephen has also worked in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Physiotherapy department during the Covid 19 Pandemic helping the recovery of COVID patients. In 2022 and 2023 Stephen has been extensively researching and trialling protocols to treat plantar fasciitis. His Expertise has resulted in the successful treatment of 103 people and counting with a current success rate of 93%

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