New Knee, New You – Traveling After Replacement Surgery

The hard part is already over—you’ve made the decision to have knee replacement surgery and now you’re on the mend. While your new knee promises great things for your future, recovering from the surgery can be arduous and even painful.

Even so, you’re not the type to let a little discomfort keep you down. But how best to get around?

While traveling after surgery can be a risk, the most severe effects of knee replacement may only last four to six weeks after surgery. Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons know how hard you work to maintain an active lifestyle. If you’ve got plane tickets, passage booked on a cruise ship, or a long drive to make, consider these top tips for dealing with your new knee.

 

Get Up and Move Around

Any surgery can increase your risk for blood clots, especially in the lower extremities. By moving around and getting the heart pumping, you can lessen the likelihood of clotting.

Easier said than done, of course, as most forms of travel require us to sit stationary for extended periods of time. If you’re taking a plane or car to your next destination, you’ll need to move around periodically.

Strolling the plane aisle or moving around at a highway rest stop can do wonders for your circulation and keep you healthy until you arrive.

 

But Don’t Move Around Too Much

Airports can be massive and troublesome to navigate. If you anticipate a long walk to your gate, you may consider asking for wheelchair assistance.

Wheelchair assistance is generally provided free of cost and without producing documentation or a physician’s note. Too far a walk may aggravate your knee or even cause unnecessary swelling, making the rest of your trip painful and uncomfortable.

 

Anticipate Difficulties

When traveling, your new knee may require more consideration than you’d expect.

Modern airport screenings will detect the metallic implant and may even require additional screening. By arriving to the security checkpoint sooner, you’ll allow yourself some extra time to deal with any further screening.

If you’re traveling by car and sharing the drive with someone else, it might be wise to limit the amount of driving you plan to do. Your partner should expect to drive for the lion’s share.  Depending on the leg in question, you may not be able to stay behind the wheel for as long as you used to.

 

Hydrate and Medicate

Proper hydration can be an afterthought when traveling under normal circumstances—doubly so if you’ve just had your knee replaced.

By remembering to hydrate, you lessen your likelihood of clotting, and compression stockings worn on the leg or legs can alleviate any additional swelling in both plane and car.

As far as medication goes, you may want to check with your orthopaedic surgeon as to which (if any) medications may be wise to pack and keep on hand. Anticoagulants can keep the blood flowing while NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) might hold the swelling to a minimum. Your medical history may impact your ability to take these drugs after a surgery, so it’s always essential to listen to your physician first.

 

Get Going

Your new knee is on its way to healing, and once it does, you’ll be as unstoppable as you were before.

If you or someone you know needs or is considering a knee replacement surgery, Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons can help you determine your best course to the rest of your active life. Reach out to our team of experienced physicians for a consultation today by clicking here.