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Top Tips for Traveling with Arthritis or Following Joint Replacement

Baggage claim

The physical therapists at HSS’ Joint Mobility Center have provided these tips to make your trip easier and more enjoyable this summer!

1. Get a suitcase with wheels. Try to get a model that you can push rather than pull. Pushing places the load squarely in front of you. This helps to conserve energy and avoid the joint-twisting strain of pulling.

2. Don’t over-pack nor over-lift. There are occasions when you will have to lift your luggage – onto the X-ray platform or into the overhead bin. Don’t be shy about asking someone else to do the lifting – preferably someone in a uniform whose job it is to help or just someone who looks strong. People are more willing to help than you might think.

3. Don’t sit for hours at a time in a plane or car. Standing and walking for even 2 minutes every hour can make a huge difference in how you feel when you arrive. On planes, try to get an aisle seat, which makes it easier to regularly stretch as well as stand up and walk around. If you’re driving, allow time for hourly five-minute stops.

4. Pack your medications first? Use labeled containers that go in your carry-on luggage and take an extra copy of your prescriptions with you in case your medications get lost. Nothing can spoil your trip worse than not having your medications at hand.

5. Pack a small “emergency” kit in your carry-on bag. Your own levels of concern and where you’re going will determine what you pack. At the least it should include: bottled water to take your medicine and one meal’s worth of calories, such as a health-food bar.

6. Pack a plug-in night-light. In unfamiliar surroundings, it can help prevent stumbles or falls. If you forget to bring one along, just leave the bathroom light on when you go to bed.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Joint Mobility Center at jmc@hss.edu!

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.