Recovery after knee replacement surgery is a critical period, and poor adherence to your surgeon’s instructions can affect the overall success of the surgery. A common question among knee replacement surgery patients is whether they can travel while in recovery. The answer to this question is: it depends. Factors such as how far along you are into your recovery, the mode and length of travel, and your overall health are important.
It is generally recommended that patients hold off on traveling until a couple of months after knee replacement surgery. There is a risk of blood clots forming in your leg if you sit for long periods of time. It may also be uncomfortable to travel, making it a bad experience for you. Check with your surgeon before making any travel plans. Your surgeon can give you advise on how to travel safely.
Here are some tips for traveling safely after knee replacement surgery that you can use.
Flying After Knee Replacement Surgery
If you must travel by air, make sure to choose a bulkhead or aisle seat, so you have ample room to stretch your legs. It is best to ask for wheelchair assistance, especially if you may not be able to walk the length of the airport on your own. Everyone must go through security before flying, even passengers who have had recent surgery. Let the TSA agents know that you’ve had knee replacement surgery recently. Make sure to dress comfortably and be well-rested before the flight.
Being confined in a small space for an extended period of time is bad for your new knee. You should avoid standing for long periods of time and be careful not to put prolonged weight on your knee. Get up and walk every 30 minutes and stay hydrated while flying.
Road Trips and Long Drives
If you’re traveling by road, sit in the front passenger seat of the car because it’ll give you some extra room to stretch your legs. Make sure to incorporate frequent stops to stretch and walk during the road trip. Your doctor may recommend you use compression wraps to prevent blood from pooling in your legs. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if there are some light exercises or movements you can do while sitting in the car to help with movement and blood flow.
Evaluating whether a patient is ready to travel after knee replacement surgery involves checking the patient’s recovery progress and overall health as well as the mode and length of travel to be done. Some people are ready to travel as soon as six weeks after surgery, while others may need to take a few months to focus on recovery and rehabilitation before venturing out. If you must travel after knee surgery, your doctor can create an individualized plan that minimizes risks.
Orthopaedic Surgeons in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, TN
At Watauga Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic specialists can provide recommendations for traveling after knee replacement surgery as well as care and treatment for patients that are experiencing symptoms or complications after coming home from travel. Our orthopaedic urgent care center is ready to accept patients that need immediate care.
To schedule a consultation with an orthopaedic specialist, call Watauga Orthopaedics at (423) 282-9011 or fill out our online form to request an appointment. We look forward to serving you in any of our three locations in northeastern Tennessee.