How soon after broken hip surgery can someone climb stairs?

Gram12 asked...

How soon after surgery to repair a broken hip is a patient able to climb stairs?

Expert Answer

Laura Cheney, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

There is no simple answer to this question. The pace of recovery and the ability to do certain tasks varies greatly among individuals. It depends upon the person's age, strength, balance, pain control, and their ability to put full weight through their foot. Depending on the type of surgery that is done to repair the hip, the person may have "weight bearing precautions" for a while after the surgery—meaning they are limited in how much weight they should put through their foot while walking. A person must be cleared by their doctor to put full weight through their foot before they can climb stairs. In the best case scenario—a person should be able to climb stairs with a hand rail, one step at a time about one to two weeks after surgery. But discuss your individual case with your physical therapist and they should be able to give you a good idea.