Holiday Travel Tips for Osteoarthritis Patients

Date Posted : December 19, 2022

Now that it is officially winter, you might be tempted to escape the cold temperatures before the frigid temperatures slow down your blood circulation or heightens pain sensitivity for your osteoarthritis. We can’t blame you because there’s a bunch of people who just simply prefer to be in the warmth rather than the cold.

If you are planning on taking a vacation during the holidays but are hesitant due to your osteoarthritis, there are ways you can still enjoy yourself and keep your symptoms under control.

Here are some holiday travel tips for osteoarthritis patients:

Extra legroom on your plane seat

Whether or not your flight is long or not, you never know when your osteoarthritis will begin to act. If you are able to choose an aisle seat or one with extra leg room, it is highly recommended you do so to ensure you have some room for your body to relax and breathe. The advantage of an aisle seat is that you will be able to get up without disturbing your neighbours in case you need to take a little stroll when it is safe to do so while you are up in the air. 

Carry assistive devices

Nowadays there are a variety of assistive devices you can purchase depending on which body part(s) you would like to support. If you don’t already own one that is specifically designed for your hip or knee osteoarthritis, it might be a good time to invest in one prior to your flight in case you need it on the plane. You could store your knee brace or a hip brace in your carry on and use it during the flight if you begin to feel discomfort. 

Choose your meals wisely

If you have had osteoarthritis for a while, you are probably aware that certain foods can cause inflammation which ultimately reacts with your osteoarthritis. Some quick and easy snacks to take on the go, try some dried fruits, unsalted nuts, whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, plain popcorn, hummus, and low-fat cheese or yogurt. The best type of meals to incorporate into your diet while on vacation would be Mediterranean cuisine as there are many foods that are anti-inflammatory and will not trigger your osteoarthritis symptoms

Dress comfortably

Whenever you are going to be sitting in one spot for a longer period of time, you will want to ensure that you are wearing comfortable clothes that aren’t too tight around your body, especially your joints. Opting for loose-fitting or stretchy articles of clothing that won’t aggravate your knee osteoarthritis for instance, will ensure you have a comfortable time travelling on the plane, train, and even car. 

Perform some stretches

Staying in one spot for long periods of time can cause your muscles and joints to feel sore, which can seemingly feel even more uncomfortable when you are in a public setting surrounded by other people. Although there are numerous exercises and stretches you can do to help alleviate your osteoarthritis symptoms, you will need to make sure you can perform them within the space you are in. Check out our Instagram Reel for some physiotherapist-recommended stretches to do when you travel.  

Looking for telehealth opportunities to stay active and manage your Osteoarthritis symptoms? Helping My Arthritis offers current education and treatment options around first and second-line physiotherapy for hip and knee osteoarthritis patients around Surrey, Delta, Vancouver and, via telehealth communication, all over BC! Reach out today to learn more about how to help your arthritis, call 604-306-0127 or email to consult with Nadine Plotnikoff, the physiotherapist behind Helping My Arthritis.