Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure often employed when nonsurgical and conservative treatments fail to deliver adequate results to a damaged knee joint. This surgery involves the removal of a damaged knee joint and replacement of it with an artificial joint.
One of the most significant concerns of those who undergo knee replacement surgery is how fast they can recover, so they can begin traveling again. Whether it’s for work or vacation, traveling is a common activity that all of us partake in.
Traveling can involve a few minutes to several hours of inactivity, depending on the distance you are traveling. Inactivity can lead to issues such as pain, swelling, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
To avoid DVT and other complications, here are some tips for traveling after knee replacement surgery.
While you recover from knee replacement surgery, walking can be difficult. You will rely on assistive devices, such as a walker or cane, for quite some time after surgery. While these devices can help reduce pain symptoms while you stand and walk as well as give you good balance, you will still be limited in how long you can walk. As such, traveling long distances by walking should probably be limited – especially in the beginning.
Once you begin physical therapy and after a few months have passed since the procedure, you’ll be able to increase how much you walk gradually. When walking, limit your trips to close areas near your home. Make sure to walk with a loved one, so you aren’t alone. Try to limit your walking to areas with readily available seating, such as a park. This way, if you need to take a break, you have somewhere to sit.
Driving after knee replacement surgery will likely have to wait. Once your knee heals and you’ve done physical therapy for several weeks, you can discuss with your surgeon whether you can begin driving. Until this happens, you’ll be limited to being a passenger when in a car.
When traveling by car, you will be limited in how long you can sit. In the beginning, you will only be able to endure short trips. As you heal, you can gradually increase the duration of your car trips. Consult with your doctor before you travel long distances in a car.
Rent a Large Car
If traveling a long distance is necessary, try to rent a large car. This will allow you to move your leg in various positions to help with comfort. Following surgery, you will frequently need to change how your leg sits.
Take the Back Seat
During long car trips, you will need space to stretch your legs often. Stretching helps avoid tightness and stiffness in your knee. Sitting in the back seat will allow you the necessary room to do so.
Recline Your Seat
If you are sitting in the front seat, consider reclining it to have more room for your leg. However, if you are seated in the back, push the seat in front of you forward. Doing so will give you ample legroom.
Plan Your Trips With Frequent Stops
For long trips, make sure to plan for frequent stops. This way, you have enough time to stretch your legs and walk around, which will improve circulation in your legs.
Traveling via plane has a whole set of other complications, especially for long trips. Many doctors recommend that you avoid air travel for at least six weeks after surgery. A long flight can leave you more vulnerable to DVT. Before any air travel, talk to your surgeon.
Book the Seat Next to the Aisle
If you must travel, book a seat in business class or premium economy instead. Alternatively, book a seat next to the aisle or in the front of the plane just after business class ends. This will ensure you can stick your leg out and stretch when necessary. Make sure to stretch occasionally during the flight and walk up and down the aisle to boost blood circulation.
Use Compression Socks
Compression socks can help promote blood flow by gently applying pressure to your legs and ankles. Aside from ample legroom and space to walk and stretch, wearing compression socks throughout the flight can reduce your chances of developing DVT.
Knee Replacement Surgery Aftercare in Missouri
The experts at Advanced Bone & Joint have been taking care of musculoskeletal needs of patients since the 1980s. Our services include pain management, joint replacement procedures, sports medicine, general orthopedics, and much more. If you do need surgery, we will support you until you have completely recovered.
You may contact us at (636) 229-4222 for your inquiries or to schedule an appointment. You may also request an appointment through our secure online form.