Learning to Use Drywall Stilts
Drywall stilts aren’t going to take an acrobatic person to learn how to use, but you’ll need to be a bit steady on your feet for the most part. If your legs are any kind of disabled, just use a lift or a ladder, it’ll be a lot less risky.
Learning to use them isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be. The best place is probably the front yard, or anywhere else that’s open with a soft surface. Strap them on and stand up, walk around a little bit, and you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
You’ll have to lift your leg up pretty high in order to avoid “scuffing” the toe, which might cause you to trip. Remember that you’re not “swinging through” like you do normally when walking, but instead you’ll want to lift from the hip with each step. Too long of steps can cause some pairs to do odd things though, so you’ll want to measure them carefully.
If you have the time, it’s best to practice for a couple of hours before you start working with them, but as long as you’re steady and can walk decently well you should be okay.
Falling is bound to happen when you’re just starting out. Don’t panic, circus performers have been falling on their heads from much higher distances for a long, long time.
The basic technique used to protect yourself is called a knee drop. If you wibble when you should have wobbled, you’ll be able to protect yourself with this. Since you’re not a performer and you’ll be mostly working around walls, it’s not that important to practice it, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.
Slow your descent as much as possible, and bend your knees. If you do it right, your things will catch the brunt of the impact and you’ll be able to catch most of the rest with your upper body. Do not stiffen your arms or wrists, instead let them impact naturally in order to protect your head.
If you start to fall backwards, take a step back and try to shift it into a forward fall. There is no safe way to fall off of stilts backwards, but if you can’t help going over that way, tuck your chin and close your mouth.
You’ll still get the wind knocked out of you, but your upper back should take the brunt of the impact and you won’t risk biting off a chunk of your tongue. Trying to catch behind yourself with your hands is a losing game, and a broken wrist is a pretty likely outcome.
Falling really shouldn’t be much of a concern in most cases, drywall stilts are amazingly stable for what they are, but just keep the above in mind. A small loose dog, tripping over a bucket of mud, or any number of things can happen and a little bit knowledge can go a long way in this area.