Gransnet forums

Health

Fear of going down steps

(31 Posts)
Mazgg Sun 29-Aug-21 13:16:55

I fear going down stairs or steps, even steep slopes if there is no handrail. This now makes going to the cinema or theatre an ordeal. I used to hop on and off escalators going down but now can't do this. I haven't had a fall that brought this on though I have occasionally missed a step but not fallen. Can anyone suggest a coping strategy?

welbeck Sun 29-Aug-21 13:20:43

go with someone and have them go ahead of you and hang on to them.
this is your survival instinct, so respect it. don't take any chances.
good luck.
ever used a stick, maybe walking pole, for stability ?

Spice101 Sun 29-Aug-21 13:21:39

Mazgg I'm the same but going up is just as bad for me. What does help me is to use a stick or crutch which helps my balance so that I feel more stable.

welbeck Sun 29-Aug-21 13:29:14

falling going down is much more risky than going up.
so it's good to take measures to reduce the risk.

seacliff Sun 29-Aug-21 13:37:10

I went to physio for a dodgy hip recently. To my surprise, she gave me a walking stick, adjusted for me, as she said it would improve my walking ability.

I feel old and don't like using it but it certainly helps me feel much more confident walking on uneven areas etc. Much better than falling and breaking something.

You need a proper strong one with correct handle and base. You could always possibly self refer to your local NHS Physio www.nhs.uk/conditions/physiotherapy/accessing/

BlueSapphire Sun 29-Aug-21 13:41:03

I am exactly the same with going down, especially strange staircases. I just hold on for grim death, sometimes two-handed! And spiral staircases are a big no. I blame it on dreams where I step off the top step and then fall; luckily I wake up before I reach the bottom!

welbeck Sun 29-Aug-21 13:43:41

those who feel consigned to old age by a walking stick, what about trying walking poles; that has a young outdoorsy vibe.

Luckygirl Sun 29-Aug-21 15:46:52

Also beware going downstairs if you have varifocals.

crazyH Sun 29-Aug-21 15:52:34

Yes, agree with Luckygirl about varifocals ..

Charleygirl5 Sun 29-Aug-21 16:20:58

I have one ankle pinned and plated and bil. knee replacements. I go downstairs sideways also using a walking stick. I may look odd but I feel safe. Try it at home first before you venture out. I have a stairlift at home so no problems there.

JaneJudge Sun 29-Aug-21 16:26:24

I think having a fall and losing confidence is quite normal, I hope you are ok as it's a horrible shock. I do agree with others though, use a stick or even a frame if it helps and well fitted shoes or trainers will help too.

Babs758 Sun 29-Aug-21 16:30:02

I have two Leki hiking sticks. Normally only use one but needed two in a steep pebbly beach over the weekend. Dodgy knee so being careful.

Deedaa Sun 29-Aug-21 16:32:27

A few months ago my knee gave way as I went down some steps and although I didn't fall it was a nasty few seconds. Since then I have taken to going down one step at a time like an old lady (which I am) I notice one of my friends is doing it too. I'm always careful because of my varifocals as well. Down escalators are becoming quite difficult too.

AGAA4 Sun 29-Aug-21 16:45:45

I used to just walk onto escalators but now I have to hover at the top for a minute till I feel I can go.
I don't like going down steep steps either.

Shandy57 Sun 29-Aug-21 17:03:35

I would recommend a stick, one of the ones with three prongs on the bottom to make you feel more supported if you know you are going somewhere with steps.

Hopefully you can start choosing cinema/theatre seats that won't involve too many steps? And use the lift at places with escalators?

I have vertigo and can't get on the train without assistance now, someone has to press the button for me and hold my arm as I step over 'the tap'.

Going down steps is only manageable if I can hold on to a rail, or a person, I haven't got a stick yet but think it's time.

I remember going to Italy with the school fifty years ago and running down the Spanish steps, those days are definitely over!

JackyB Sun 29-Aug-21 17:39:17

I hate going on a swing these days. Sad, when I watch the DGC swinging away and remember how we used to have such fun.

I am not quite so bad on stairs although I am very wary going downstairs, which, after all, is what this thread is about. I have to take off my varifocals though, as I don't trust what I'm seeing. Like most, I just hang on to anything I can.

Boz Sun 29-Aug-21 17:44:30

I have to enter a swimming pool, twice a week, down steps without a handrail. I keep my pool shoes on for the first two steps then manage to sit on the side to get. I don't feel should have to be unnerved by this performance and I have complained to no avail. I now get dizzy spells from neck problems, so I am not too pleased when faced with steps without a handrail. Oh the joys of old age and the fond memories of running in high heels!

Nortsat Sun 29-Aug-21 18:27:06

I have a stick and am glad to use it. It really steadies me and I wouldn’t take my daily exercise so confidently without it.

I find people help me, when they see it ... cars stop to let me cross the road, people are patient if I’m a bit slower and in cafes and pubs, the staff bring the drinks to the table.
There are compensations. 😎

timetogo2016 Mon 30-Aug-21 11:45:39

I manage to fall up and down the stairs,i am very cautious in public.
So you are not alone Mazgg.

aonk Mon 30-Aug-21 11:50:23

I have a minor problem with my eyesight which makes it difficult to go down stairs or steps. It’s difficult to see where they begin especially with poor lighting and patterned carpets or flooring. My optometrist has reassured me that this is normal. The only thing I can do is to take my time and hang on to the rail.

Fennel Mon 30-Aug-21 17:23:50

Since breaking my ankle in march i haven't been upstairs. going up is OK but scared coming down. Problem of balance.
But I've found I can manage a few down if I descend sideways, looking at the wall.
Somehow seeing the drop in front of me makes it harder to balance.

silverlining48 Mon 30-Aug-21 17:32:18

I always hold on when coming downstairs, and don't wear glasses if I do. If no handrail I wouldnt feel safe to do it. My balance us very poor. Have fallen so many times but luckily I usually, but not always, bounce.

ayse Mon 30-Aug-21 17:41:15

Heights have always been a bit of a problem for me and now I also hang on to the handrails whenever they are available. I’m also aware that my balance is not as good as it was. I don’t stress about it but remain wary.

Redhead56 Mon 30-Aug-21 18:06:02

I had menieres disease years ago and needed a hip replacement the same time. It affected my balance and I avoid steep steps as they make me nervous escalators make me very nervous. I have to be behind my husband on stairs and take one step at a time. I have always been scared of heights as I age it's getting worse.

HolySox Mon 30-Aug-21 18:58:06

Is it simply your balance is getting poorer ... as well as eyesight? As we get older our muscles waste. However, this can be compensated by doing exercises. NHS suggest these:

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/balance-exercises/

Seemed to remember a programme saying how doing these type of exercises is preventing a lot of falls in the elderly.