Discharge Instructions: Using a Walker to Step On and Off Curbs

Your healthcare provider has prescribed a walker for you. To use your walker, you need to learn new ways to get around outside your home. Remember to step up with your good (uninjured or stronger) leg and down with your bad (injured or weaker) leg. “Up with the good and down with the bad” is an easy way to remember which leg to use first.

General guidelines

Here are some general tips:

  • Watch for obstacles, such as pebbles, potholes, debris, or anything that might catch on the bottom of your walker.

  • Keep your hands free by using a backpack, fanny pack, apron, or pockets to carry things.

Stepping onto curbs

To step onto a curb with your walker:

  • Move your feet and the walker as close to the curb as possible.

  • Put your weight on both your legs. Then, lift the walker onto the sidewalk.

  • Step onto the sidewalk with the good foot first. Then, using the walker to support your weight, bring up the injured (weaker) foot.

Woman with walker stepping up on curb with unaffected foot.

Stepping off curbs

To step off a curb with your walker:

  • Move your feet and the walker as close to the edge of the curb as you safely can.

  • Lower the walker onto the street, keeping its back legs against the curb.

  • Using the walker to support your weight, lower your weaker foot first. Then step down with the other foot.

Woman with walker stepping off curb with affected foot.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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