For many people, summertime means vacation. And that can mean hours with your legs spent crumpled in an airplane seat or stuck in one position on the gas pedal – both of which can make your knee pain worse.
For people who have knee pain, here are a few tips and tricks we suggest to minimize traveling discomfort:
If you’re taking a plane
Movement is key. Get up out of your seat frequently to stretch your legs. Picking an aisle seat will make it easier for you to get up multiple times during your flight. You may also be able to stretch your leg into the aisle a bit for more space; bulkhead seats have more room than other rows. Be sure to use rolling luggage to prevent putting more pressure on your knees by trying to carry heavy baggage.
If you’re driving
Try to get someone else to drive so that your leg won’t be stuck in the same position using the gas pedal or clutch. Instead, you’ll be able to stretch out in the passenger seat. If that’s not an option, you can use cruise control on the freeway so that your leg is not stuck in the same position for too long. Take pit stops – get out of the car regularly to stretch, walk around, and make sure that your body alignment is correct.
Take it easy!
Once you’ve reached your destination, it is easy to become excited and try to do more than your body is ready to tackle. Alternate your plans so you are more focused on resting versus being active. Wear your brace; be careful when packing it so that you don’t change its settings.
Keep up your exercises
Continue to do your physical therapy exercises. A vacation from work is not a vacation from your health, especially if you’re being more active than normal. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes that you know you can be mobile in for hours on end without issues. Lastly, bring more medication than you think you’ll need. Extra exertion will most likely mean extra pain on some level; make sure that you’re prepared to deal with it so that you don’t have to interrupt your day to find a pharmacist.
Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy your trip!