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Author Topic: Flying advice/suggestions  (Read 2882 times)

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Offline amoler

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Flying advice/suggestions
« on: December 14, 2010, 10:38:50 PM »
I'm going to be traveling for something on the order of 20-22hrs next week. Short plane flight followed by looooong plane flight followed by the inevitable hour or 2 in customs then the 2 hr train ride. I can walk without my brace for a while. So I have intentions of wearing it over a pair of Underarmor leggings so I can remove it and let them x-ray it. My ROM is pretty decent but sitting for all those hrs with it jammed up under the "cheap seats" lack of leg room is not going to be pleasant. An acquaintance suggested taking thermacare pad things with me to cut down on the stiffness/pain of immobility but I wonder if that would get me flagged as a some sort of "terrorist". Anyway, I'm open to suggestions to minimize the pain.
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline soozles

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 10:53:29 PM »
Call your airline and ask for bulkhead seating if available. Also, be prepared for a lot of swelling. The flight attendants don't have ice packs on board, but if you bring some empty ziplocs, they will fill it up with ice for you. I broke my wrist a couple days before I had to fly to Florida, and I didn't think to bring ice packs. The flight attendants put some ice into a rubber glove, and it worked well enough for a wrist, but on my flight home, I took some empty ziplocs and they put ice in them for my wrist. Also, I would ask for wheelchair assistance for getting through the airport and customs, it can be a long time and you don't know how your knee will act.
May 2005: Torn PCL, misdiagnosed as chondromalacia
April 2010: pain worse, lots of instability
Nov. 23, 2010: PCL reconstruction
progress here: http://pclrecovery.blogspot.com/

Offline Bigman78

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 11:45:54 PM »
Agree with soozles. Book bulkhead seats (or emergency seats) as this will give you extra leg room to stretch your legs out. I just travelled to and from Bali (5.5 hour flight) and had no issues 9 weeks after a knee reconstruction. I didn't even had to ice the knee as it didn't really swell too much but obviously your flight is much longer so I would bring an empty pack which the attendants can fill with ice as mentioned by soozles. Walk up and down the ailes every half an hour to an hour and do plenty of ankle pumps and seated calf raises.

You should be fine. Asking for a wheelchair might be a good idea as the toughest part was lining up when checking in!

All the best.
Visit my blog: http://aclrehab.blogspot.com/

Oct 11th 2010: 2nd Op to clean out staph infection
Oct 1st 2010: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Aug 26th 2010: R knee ACL rupture (soccer)

Offline KW

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 12:31:26 AM »
In the US you may not be in the Emergency Exit Row if injured (Federal Law).  Most Airlines now charge extra for/or restrict reservations to "upper level frequent flyer members" for any seats with additional leg room.  If I can't get a seat with extra leg room I always choose a aisle seat with by bad leg on the Inside - You don't want a sore knee getting hit by suitcases or a drink cart.

Don't wait until you get to the Airport to check on the seat assignment....Call the Airline and make arrangement esp with travel this time of year. At the same time make arrangements for wheelchair assistance at the airport - best part is you will avoid the long security and customs lines - the wheelchair assistants walk right up :)

Ziplock bags work great. 

Yes,  you can take the heat patches (I travel with them all the time).  I would suggest name brands to avoid too many questions.

I travel all the time for work..Let me know if you have more questions.

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 amoler

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 01:05:05 AM »
Karen - don't you have to have some sort of dr note to request a wheelchair? I'm not sure I could manage to request one in another country (UK-Gatwick). Last time I flew post to a recent injury, I was on crutches, and the airlines cut me absolutely zero slack. I sat on the floor for a while in customs at Heathrow that time, crutches in my lap. The UK doesn't really "do" handicapped access.
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline KW

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 01:16:10 AM »
In the US you absolutely do not need a Dr Note to request a wheelchair.  All you need to do is let the Airline know you are injured and they will make a note on your reservation..though you may need to request one when you arrive at the airport.

Normally if you arrive and are boarded onto a Plane via wheelchair the flight attendant calls and has one at the gate waiting for you at your destination/connection.  I'm not sure how it works in the UK - I have not been there since the knee stuff began.  I would imagine it is available you just have to ask. Most countries have laws about handicapped assistance and access.

Here is the info on "Special Assistance" at the Gatwick Airport. 

http://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/special-assistance/
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 mollyc

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 05:24:53 PM »
You've gotten lots of good advice here. Just wanted to add one piece of info.

I brought ice packs with me a number of times while travelling, not necessarily for the plane trip itself but because I needed to use them at my destination.  Three times, I got stopped during baggage screening. My ice packs are actually clay (work terrific!), so there was some worries about them looking like explosives in the scanner. Twice, they put the ice packs through the explosive detectors and when they were deemed not explosives, I was on my way. The third time, though, I was hassled...had to talk with supervisor, they wanted to confiscate them etc  Eventually, they let me through, but it was a hassle and I was standing there a long time on a sore and achy knee.

So, I guess my advice would be to take zip loc bags on the plane and ask for ice from flight attendant (did that a number of times--works great!) If you want to bring your ice packs, as I did, put them in your suitcase and check your luggage.
Ski accident 2/14/09
Ruptured ACL, MCL sprain, bone bruise
ACLr allograft 5/27/09
Knee now 100% fine...skiing and playing tennis regularly

Offline coral 251

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 08:40:25 PM »
Hi, The main risk with an injured leg is the possibility of DVT,make sure,as some-one suggested, that you keep the leg moving as much as possible, walk around the plane as much as possible, and do foot pumps all the time while seated.
I myself had an injury whilst on holiday abroad,i had a thigh to ankle cast,and had to be flown home to the UK for an op, so therefore it was impossible for me to move,and i had to have blood thinning injections, to prevent DVT.
What i was also told was to drink plenty of water but,avoid drinking tea, coffee, and fizzy drinks.
If possible, try to wear flight socks, and you should be just fine.
Wishing you all the best, and hope everything goes well.
                     Regards.
                                    Coral
23/03/10 displaced patella fracture 3 pieces right leg
26/3/10 had op,2 pins & figure of 8 wiring
full cast ankle to thigh 7 weeks.
18/5/10 cast removed xray showing hairline crack
26/7/10 walking unaided,full rom
31/10/2010.6 months post-op check,bone not healed,harware cant be removed

Offline amoler

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 01:14:23 AM »
Coral,   I'm mystified. What are foot pumps? ??? Sorry but they sound painful and I've never heard of flight socks. I'm flying from 6 pm to 7 am, and I had hoped to catch a couple hrs of sleep. Lack of caffeine will unfortunately guarantee a migraine too. :(
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline KW

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 02:03:29 AM »
Foot Pumps = Ankle Pumps - Move your foot front to back and side to side.  It will help with circulation while sitting for extended periods of time.

Flight Socks - a.k.a Compression Stockings, a.k.a. TED Hose.  - Talk to your OS some advise against wearing on long flights.


Overall - Unless you have had a really recent injury/surgery I would not think your risk of DVT on a flight is higher then normal.  Give you OS a call to see if there are any specific precautions you should take based on your specific situation.  I flew 6 weeks post PKR and was told there was no increased risk of DVT and to focus on keeping my swelling under control.     
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 amoler

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 03:44:57 AM »
To Karen - I don't have an orthopedic surgeon if that's what OS stands for. The first available appt was Jan 6. I have been dealing for weeks with an insurance fiasco that happened when my hubby changed jobs.  It took an entire month to get "permission" for the MRI. The GP's office has been very nice, but not terribly helpful. (PT was a spectacular failure/NSAID only helps a little) I have very little hope the ortho will have something beneficial to offer.

Thanks for the info about foot pumps - I googled and kept coming up with "how to inflate your air mattress" sites :P
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline amoler

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 01:22:24 PM »
My flight to the UK went just swiimmingly. (insert dripping sarcasm here)  >:(US air does not do pre-bordering unless you have an infant. They have less leg room than any airline I have ever flown. Not only was there no possible of asking for ice for my knee, they wouldn't even bring me another barf bag when my kid puked during turbulence mid-flight. I order a wheelchair for Gatwick. Nothing. No sign of it. (The young guy on crutches and I limped the half way to customs. My knee looks a bit like a squishy baseball.

Oh and I hate escalators, moving walkways and anything that requires me and iffy balance to step on to a moving object. Handicapped access is pretty close to "el-zippo".
'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears

Offline moo in space

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 03:23:20 PM »
Dont fly, treat yourself with more respect...

if you have to then book disabled and wheelchair, arrive later than advised, call airline to say ur close by but will be slightly delayed and alert checking desk, but Book online - eticket, check urself in later than u would for that flight... but request assistance and a buggy, that way ur rushed through and expressed at sec chk point, but dont leave it to late, they can get difficult...

Alternativley
Book 3 seats, or go 1st/bus or premier, just think your worth it... You spend all year to go away why travel like a parcel.,  would
you spend the same amount of time sat like that at home, then why just to fly, do things in the best interests for your knees,
holiday - work  versus +/- effects on your symptoms... do for me if not for yourself.
You could always grin and bear it....
 Move around where possible, ask the flight crew to chill in the galley areas when not in use... sit on floor and do you leg warms and stretches...... but in my exp.. seriously think about it first.. it hurts like hell and spoils ur hols... regrets
i would be interested if you could have access to oxygen??? re dvt and low air quality...
Travel by private charter lay down in the back and have the pilot keep the window open...
On a lighter note travel by a less damaging option...  elephants are good

Offline amoler

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Re: Flying advice/suggestions
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2010, 05:19:36 PM »
To moo- transaltantic elephant crossing? LOL
We travel to the UK every year to 18months. I refuse to give it up. I'll just suck it up and deal with it (and complain ;D)

'77- Rt knee menicus tear
'90 -2nd menscus tear
'91 -failed arthroscopy/partial menisectomy
patella dislocation 10/ 2010
Dx = grade 4 chondromalacia + synovitis + Meniscus tear + lax strained medial ligaments
Fall down the stairs 7/20/11 - mcl sprain + 2 meniscus tears