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Author Topic: flying with a meniscus tear?  (Read 7585 times)

Offline Elise88

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flying with a meniscus tear?
« on: June 14, 2010, 01:00:48 PM »
I was diagnoised as having a lateral meniscus tear about 3 weeks ago after injuring it in March. About a week ago it locked out of place & never went back in. Went to A&E on the weekend and they have put me in a leg brace & have given me crutches until I have the arthscopy surgery which could be a couple of months away.

I am due to fly (British Airways) to Copenhagen in a weeks time & being stubborn as I am, am still going crutches and all. Was just wondering if anyone knew if it was safe to fly with the tear? Painwise I;m not bothered, just wanted to make sure it was safe...
Also, will I need a doctors note to be able to fly? I hadn't thought of these questions until a friend just pointed it out.

Offline anniehine

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 01:06:11 PM »
Hi there,

I'd ask the airline whether you need a doctors note.  I wouldn't imagine flying with a meniscus tear would cause you any problems, the only thing I would say is maybe take some anti-inflammatories with you because the cabin pressure might not help the swelling, and ensure you get an emergency exit seat.  Good luck!
Left knee started dislocating at 7 years old
Hypermobile
Arthroscopic scope April 2009
Trochleoplasty at 28 years old (10.2.10)
Did 1st SLR 1.4.10 WHOOP!!
Walked through house without crutches (12.4.10) very pleased with myself!!

Offline Vickster

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 01:19:14 PM »
I flew with BA to the US with a meniscus tear in Novemeber - I just spoke to their customer services team beforehand and they gave me a bulkhead seat on the correct side of the cabin so I could stick my bad leg in the aisle and have more room. 

I would be very surprised if they let you sit on an exit row if in a brace and with crutches and you need to be able bodied and able to move quickly in an emergency!  Front of cabin bulkhead more likely.  I would talk to the GP/A&E and get a note clearing you to fly.  I know airlines are twitchy about people with leg injuries due to the possible DVT risk (I broke my big toe and had to fly 2 days later - the nurse at the hoespital said I should have had crutches really but that airlines can be funny, even though there is no DVT risk with busted toes)!

As Annie says, you may find the pressure affects your knee - I have just come back from Europe and my knee was sore both ways.
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
Partial meniscectomy, mfx not needed - smooth scar tissue over OC lesion, shaving of grade III defect lateral aspect of patella
2nd scope on 16/12/10, chondroplasty & Durolane jab
New MRI shows lat meniscus tear & other stuff
Ostenil plus jab

Offline anniehine

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 01:55:27 PM »

I would be very surprised if they let you sit on an exit row if in a brace and with crutches and you need to be able bodied and able to move quickly in an emergency! 

^^  Oh yeah, didn't think about that!!   ::) :o ::)  ^^
Left knee started dislocating at 7 years old
Hypermobile
Arthroscopic scope April 2009
Trochleoplasty at 28 years old (10.2.10)
Did 1st SLR 1.4.10 WHOOP!!
Walked through house without crutches (12.4.10) very pleased with myself!!

Offline KW

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 02:30:55 PM »
As someone who has travled ALOT after knee surgery...You wil NOT be able to sit in the emergency exit row while in a brace/on crutches/or if you advance board .  Sometimes even showing a limp will exclude you from these seats.  You might want to call the airline and ask about a discounted upgrade to Business Class.  I have been offered a upgrade for very reasonable prices.

Other advise...
Even if you are not swollen at the moment expect some additional swelling...I swell down into my ankel on flights.

If you are think you will need ice take zip-lock type bags.  Attendents are normally very helpful.

I would not put my bad leg into the asile..Other peoples bags and the drink cart hurt like a @%&$^ when they hit a already hurt knee!  Sit with your knee safely on the inside away from moving objects!

Karen
Right Knee
2000 - 2002 - Scope,LR,TTT,Unscrewed
01-10-12 - PFJR

Left Knee
04/07 TTT/LR
08/07 Bone Grth Stim
10/07 Loose/Bent Screw
1/08 Unscrewed/MRI~NON-UNION
02/19/08 Lt  TTT Revision W/Graft
12/09/08 Scope
05/15/09 Scope
09/04/09 PFJR/Unscrewed

Offline crankerchick

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 03:14:40 PM »
^^^Everything Karen said!^^^

You definitely can not sit on the exit row if you show any visible sign of impairment. I've never needed any kind of doctor's note. Not sure if international travel makes a difference.

Ice is a good idea. The flight attendants should have no issue filling up a zip lock bag that you bring with you.

Sitting on the aisle to stretch a leg into the aisle is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. People walking the aisles and carts going through, ohnoes! I sit on the window with the surgery leg on the window side. That way I don't even have to worry about whoever is sitting next to me bumping into my leg. I also value having the window in post-op situations because it means not having to get up every time someone else in the row wants to move around.
Mar '07 - plica excision
Oct '09 - femoral + tibial derotational osteotomy & TTT
Aug '10 - hardware removal
"You control your leg. Don't let it control you." -Smart trainer
"Get your a$$ in gear and go for it! Nothing will happen until you make it!" -Smart doctor

Offline Vickster

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 04:40:37 PM »
I unfortunately have long legs, so aisle only comfortable option for me in economy! I am also a nervous flyer and hate being by the window!   I don't sit with my leg in the aise, but like the option to stretch it out.  Also, easier to get in and out of seat to have a stretch, bio-break etc ;)

Each to their own.
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
Partial meniscectomy, mfx not needed - smooth scar tissue over OC lesion, shaving of grade III defect lateral aspect of patella
2nd scope on 16/12/10, chondroplasty & Durolane jab
New MRI shows lat meniscus tear & other stuff
Ostenil plus jab

Offline Cosmicsnuffle

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 04:41:04 PM »
I was in the same predicament as you - the official information of the carrier I used was that passengers would not be allowed to fly unless their knee could bend at least to 90o (mine could get to 60o!). I flew anyway and the attendants were really helpful - they found the most comfortable seat with the most  undisturbed legroom.

If in doubt contact your airline!
Oct 04 - torn meniscus
Dec 05 meniscal trim and debridement
Sep 09 torn ACL, kissing contusions, knee locked 30-60o
Jan 10 ACL stump debrided, lateral parrot beak meniscal tear trimmed
May 10 ACLr (Hamstring)
Aug 11 mfx (focal lesion lateral femoral condyle)
Jun 14 100k walk London-Brighton 28hrs

Offline Elise88

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 11:01:00 PM »
Thank you all for your advice. Sadly I definitely can't afford an upgrade at all so will contact them about the bulkhead seats.

Also, the doctor in A&E put a tubigrip underneath the brace to keep it from sliding (it still slides down my leg whenever I walk anyway, hoping to see a GP about that tomorrow) but what I want to know is, is it safe to wear the tubigrip whilst in the air or should I take it off and just leave the brace on? I know the air pressure etc is different in the air and I'm not quite sure how the tubigrip works if it could be dangerous. Its only a two hour flight but I cant bend my leg so cant move it too much!

Thanks again!

Offline anniehine

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 06:12:17 PM »
Hi Elise,

I'd ask your G.P. but if it were me I would travel without the tubigrip.  DVT is a risk when flying and that risk will be increased with the tubigrip on as it will restrict blood flow somewhat. 

I'm always advised to take it off regularly and not to sit around in it as it affects circulation so my vote is to definitely travel without it.

Annie.
Left knee started dislocating at 7 years old
Hypermobile
Arthroscopic scope April 2009
Trochleoplasty at 28 years old (10.2.10)
Did 1st SLR 1.4.10 WHOOP!!
Walked through house without crutches (12.4.10) very pleased with myself!!

Offline Elise88

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Re: flying with a meniscus tear?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2010, 05:02:18 PM »
Thank you everyone for their advice.

Not too many dramas with the flight at all. Had to have a pat down search, a full body scan & a paper explosives test done on my knee brace but I got on the plane in the end. Just loosened the brace but left the tubigrip on and not too many dramas. It swelled up as expected but I did as suggested above & took a zip lock bag with me which they were very happy to fill with ice for me.
Thanks for answering all my questions.