Traveling with Arthritis

Knee painTraveling with Arthritis

Many adults, as they grow older, gain the “skill” of being able to predict the weather via an internal barometric pressure sensor…an arthritic joint or two. These arthritic joints get crankier under poor weather conditions and when they’re asked to carry their body’s weight for an extended time. This makes them awfully poor travel companions.

Here are several ways to ease the discomfort of arthritic joints as you set out on your holiday travels.

ROAD TRIP: Arthritic joints don’t like to be immobile (held still). When driving, make frequent stops, say every hour or so, just to get out of the car and move around a bit. When in the car, slowly move the area of your body that is affected back and forth and side to side (if appropriate) to keep the joints lubricated and mobile.

AIR TRAVEL: First things first; when selecting your seat on board a plane, chose an aisle accommodation so you are freer to get up and move around during the flight. Also, if your arthritic joint is a knee, then chose the aisle seat on the opposite side of the plane from your aching knee (i.e. left knee à right aisle seat). This allows you to stick your leg out into the aisle and bend and straighten it to ease stiffness. Finally, don’t waste your steps! If you know your arthritis acts up when you walk too long, by all means ask for transportation from your gate to the baggage claim area—that’s what it’s there for.

HOTEL STAYS: Ask to be placed in a room which is close to the elevator. This again will help you to avoid wasted steps. Do take advantage of the bath tub in your room to soak those cranky joints a while. Osteoarthritis just LOVES heat!

SIGHTSEEING: Know and respect your body’s limits. Do not push yourself to the point of terrible pain. Pace the day, prioritize, and if possible, use seated transportation—and don’t feel bad to ask for a wheelchair if one is available.

There’s no shame in being in pain…only in not asking/accepting help to manage it.


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