Can You Climb Stairs?

Jersey Girl
65 posts
April 1, 2015 9:37 AM MDT

I can barely climb stairs any longer. If I have handrails on both sides I can slowly and laboriously make my way up, but barely.

I’m curious as to what others have done to retrofit their homes for a solution.

We have four fairly high rise steps to get into our house from the garage. We are exploring hydraulic lifts, but haven’t reached a conclusion yet.

My husband and I plan to retire south, where most homes are built on slabs and have no stairs. But that is 7 years away, and we are exploring solutions to the stairs from our garage into our home in the meantime. I’m guessing that my ability to struggle up those four steps will only diminish in the next seven years.

Has anyone had a challenge like this, and found a good solution?

Jersey Girl

8 posts
October 18, 2015 7:26 AM MDT

Hi Jersey girl

Like you, I have sudently found myself unable to climb stair. Kind of freaks me out how suddenly it has progressed. I am planning to move into a ranch style home in my community in the next year or so. I have noticed that there are a few homes around that have ramps that look like they may be a commercial variety. I am not sure if their is a website that sells these whole sale. I love the idea of moving south since I live in East Coast and I dred the winter LOL

Sending you good thought and wishes for answer to your problem with stairs


I am thankful for a single level home. But, I do remember the early onset days, where I had to yank myself up stairwells, using both arms. I used to enjoy stairs, because I often wonder when the last time an elevator has been inspected.

I have OPMD and I believe it contributed to my tearing of a calf muscle while running. So, I have stopped running.

When my calf muscle was torn, I would climb my home stairs on my bottom. I had to do a pull up to get into the shower, there is a short “lip” at the bottom of the shower.

Everyday, you will find you can no longer do what you were able to do just last year. Right now, I am stopping half way up the stairs to catch my breath and balance.

I am curious if others are finding that they can not walk a straight line. It is fine when you walk by yourself, but it is pain to walk in crowds, etc. I do not know if it is OPMD related or something else.

I find that I loose my balance easily. There is a lot of stuff going on to walk and the mind and muscles have to work together to make it all happen.

I want to share that I just had my eyelids “cut” on May 3, 2019. Before, my eye muscles would get SO fatigued just trying to keep the eyes open. I could not drive more than 1 hour. After the operation, I was able to drive three days straight with no issues. I am so elated! I was getting depressed about not being able to keep my eyes open. People thought I was stoned. It was embarrassing to have those droopy eyes. They might come back, but right now I feel like a new human being! Everyone is surprised that I look so good. They thought I was tired or something.


No. I could not climb stairs nor walk a straight line. People who saw me thought I was drunk or high on drugs. I avoided crowds as I would get dizzy. Now with the aid of ptosis crutches for my eyes, dual forearm crutches for my legs, and many months of physical therapy, I am more able. I still avoid stairs and crowds, but if needed I can slowly go up stairs.

I am also unable to climb stairs I cannot lift my legs up. I am able to go down the stairs. Also when I get in my car I have to lift my legs in with my hands.

Does anyone else have problems lifting up there arms I can barely comb my hair. It has gotten worse.

Hey Manuel! Nice to see you posting, but I’m sorry that your legs just aren’t doing what you need them to do. Nevertheless, welcome to the OPMD community.

I know for sure there are many people here who have problems with their arms and legs (it makes me sad to say that, but I’m afraid it’s true). Let’s see who we can get to chime in on this conversation!

Seenie from Moderator Support

Hi Manuel11,

I am sorry that you are having such difficulty with leg and arm strength.

I also have difficulty climbing stairs. It takes me a long time and I have to be very mindful of what I am doing. I cannot carry anything heavy while going up even just a few stairs. I am still able to get in and out of the car without using my hands to lift my legs, but I’m sure that is coming.

My arms get very tired while washing and blowing my hair dry. It takes quite an effort to do these things. I am 65 years old and consider myself lucky that I am not more disabled by OPMD. It affects all of us differently it seems.

Hi Manuel11, I have gotten worse in my abilities of late. The hot summer weather really takes a toll on me. I can navigate a curb and a short flight of stairs; but no longer a typical flight of stairs. I too have to use my arms to lift my legs to get in a car, or even to get in the bathtub. I have to use my arms to leverage myself to get up from a chair. I have had such difficultly seeing to comb my hair that I have buzz cut it. My neck pain from tilting my head to be able to see has gotten far worse. My strength on my arms has gotten considerably weaker. Muscle atrophy is obvious. Many a coffee mug is too heavy that I need both hands to handle.

1 Like

Roberts, I’m sorry things are difficult for you right now, but I think it is wonderful that you are able to reach out here and help Manuel see that he’s not alone: there are others who struggle as well.

I guess it’s a good thing that buzz cuts are quite fashionable! Have you got any adaptive aids for some of your other issues, like perhaps a lift chair to help you stand up? Adaptive tableware to give you a bit more control?

On this forum, we have someone who is a PT, and she has OPMD herself. In fact her screen name is @PTwithOPMD (surprising huh? :wink:) I wonder if she’s around: she may have some helpful suggestions for both you and Manuel.

Manuel and Roberts, great to see that you’ve got a conversation going here! Have a good weekend.

Seenie from ModSupport