Osteoarthritis of the knee can be restrictive at times, but there’s no need to let your concerns about knee pain and stiffness spoil your holiday. Whether it’s a beach trip or a rural retreat, these top tips for travelling with osteoarthritis will help you enjoy your time away to the fullest.
How to Avoid Knee Pain When Travelling with Osteoarthritis
1. Prepare your body. Build some gentle exercise into your daily routine during the weeks leading up to your holiday to strengthen the muscles supporting your knee joints. If you are overweight, try to shed a few pounds to reduce the strain on your joints and minimise the risk of knee pain when you go away.
2. Be realistic. Unless you’re in peak physical condition, pursuits requiring sustained and/or strenuous physical activity, such as long treks in unforgiving heat or over uneven terrain, can cause considerable pain. Of course it’s important to make the most of your time away, but do bear in mind that overdoing it on one day could compromise your plans for the remainder of the holiday.
3. Plan accordingly. Work out what kinds of activity trigger knee your pain and be aware of these when planning your itinerary. Balance active pursuits with relaxation time on the beach or in the spa, and make your travel companion aware that you might not be able to participate in certain activities. Give yourself time to recover on arrival and when you get home following the trip.
4. Book the right accommodation. Avoid unpleasant surprises on arrival by booking a room on the first floor or one that is accessible via lift. Enquire about other facilities, such as handrails in the bathroom and shuttle buses to and from the airport, before booking your room.
5. Plan transport in advance. Where possible, book tours and transport to local attractions through your hotel or travel agent before you go. Use Google Maps to research local taxi, bus and train services and jot down any useful contacts. Avoid sitting for long periods of time when you travel by scheduling in plenty of rest stops.
6. Pack sensibly. When travelling with osteoarthritis, we recommend taking a case with wheels and ensuring that any smaller travel bags are light and easy to carry. Make sure you’ve packed any prescription medications, creams and bandages and put them in a place that is easy to access, as these may be difficult to get hold of once you reach your holiday destination. Carry a walking stick to take the pressure off the affected knee.
7. Fly comfortably. Ask for the bulkhead aisle seat as this will have the most leg room. This can often be done online but if not, call the airline directly. Request wheelchair assistance if required; this can also speed up check in processes and passport control. You may wish to bring a heat pad, blanket or travel pillow to make the journey more comfortable.
8. Avoid unnecessary queuing. If possible, fly when the airport is likely to be relatively quiet, such as mid-week. Choose a flight with as few changes as possible to prevent unnecessary boarding and re-boarding. Check in online and take advantage of early boarding so you don’t have to spend too much time standing around, and request wheelchair assistance if required, which can also speed up check in processes and passport control.
9. Stay active. Prolonged periods of inactivity can cause stiffness, so avoid sitting still for too long, even during travel and relaxation time. This can be as simple as getting up once every hour or so to stretch your legs, have a quick paddle or treat yourself to an ice cream. It may also help to do some gentle stretches in the mornings and evenings to keep your joints supple.
10. Protect your knees. Knee braces offer an effective and non-invasive method for supporting the affected knee(s). The latest models are light, streamlined and unobtrusive; a far cry from the bulky orthoses of years gone by. The Unloader One® from Össur is widely recognised as the best knee brace for osteoarthritis, and works by unloading the affected bone from the side of the knee, reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Technology in Motion supplies and fits quality knee braces from a number of well respected manufacturers, including Össur, DonJoy and Medi. Call 0113 218 8030 to book an appointment at your nearest clinic or browse our website for more information on our products and services.
Here’s to a happy and active holiday!
– The Technology in Motion team