While traveling can be a fun adventure, it can also be troublesome if you suffer from knee pain, such as stiffness and muscular cramping or osteoarthritis. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce or even eliminate knee pain while allowing you to enjoy your travels.
How Does Travel Contribute to Knee Pain and Discomfort?
Whether by plane, train, or car, traveling far typically means that you’ll be sitting for an extended period in one position, which can be stressful on your knees, especially if your seat is tight or uncomfortable. Even if you drive, you may not be able to stretch and move around as needed.
Traveling can be particularly difficult if you have osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves the gradual wearing down of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones. While any joint is at risk, it usually targets joints in your knees, hips, and spine. One symptom – joint stiffness – is often most noticeable after being inactive, as with traveling.
How to Manage or Improve Knee Pain on Your Travels
While you can’t plan for every occurrence, here are some tips and suggestions to help manage your knee-related issues while traveling so that you can make the most of your upcoming adventures.
1. Bring Protective Equipment
Before you leave, talk to your doctor about using protective equipment and wearables, such as a knee brace, assistance devices, splints, compression socks, reusable hot and cold packs, or a supportive pillow to rest your knee. Whatever you bring, make sure everything is in good condition and stored properly.
2. Discuss Medications & Treatments
Ask your doctor about any anti-inflammatory medications, and when to take them. You should store them in a handy location, in their original bottles, for easy identification and safety instructions. They may also give you a knee injection, to proactively reduce swelling and pain. You may also begin a program of knee-strengthening exercises before you leave, although it could be permanent.
3. Dress for Comfort
You won’t go wrong if you wear loose or stretchy clothing and supportive shoes that enable you to walk and climb stairs easily. You may also consider compression socks to increase circulation and help prevent blood clots.
4. Move Around Regularly
Knee pain when traveling is often caused by sitting for prolonged periods, so getting up every once in a while and engaging in some light physical activity can help reduce some of the stiffness and pain. Be sure not to push yourself too hard and avoid trying any new exercises or stretches that are unfamiliar to you. Simply stretching now and then can help significantly. If you’re able to, walking a little can also be helpful.
5. Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods
While traveling, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help lower your possibility of experiencing joint pain. Travel-friendly snack options include fresh fruits (e.g. apples, oranges, blueberries, etc.), nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and baked vegetable chips (kale chips). Not only can these foods help reduce inflammation, but they can also help you feel balanced and healthy during your travels. You should also avoid any foods that are overly processed or high in unhealthy fats, like baked goods.
Schedule an Orthopedic Consultation for Knee Pain
With a few simple tricks, you can enjoy a happy, memorable travel experience with knee issues or osteoarthritis. However, if you find that your knee pain is interfering with your daily life, it may be time to talk to an orthopedic specialist. Whether you’re planning on traveling or simply want a better quality of life, we encourage you to connect with the orthopedic knee doctors at The Orthopedic Health Center in Hoboken and Jersey City, NJ today.
Appointments available now.