Traveling with prosthesis and orthosis equipment requires some pre-planning on your part. That guarantees a seamless and hassle-free travel experience throughout your voyage.
In the first part of this two-part series, we discussed why it’s important to research all aspects of your trip beforehand. How knowing what to pack and how to carry your orthosis devices can help you travel without worry.
You might also be wondering how to choose a vacation spot that can best suit your specific needs. Getting through security with your orthosis gear is also something that keeps people that require orthosis avoiding traveling.
Having tons of questions and concerns is completely normal. Information is how you beat that fear of the unknown.
Learn from the experiences of others who have traveled with orthosis, then tailor that advice to suit your situation. That’s the best way to equip yourself with the tools you need to enjoy a peaceful journey.
Researching Orthosis-Compatible Destinations
Being spontaneous is great, but having the peace of mind that comes with pre-planning is even better! Just like your orthosis gear makes it possible to lead an active and assistance-free life, in-depth research will ensure that your trip goes with no hiccups.
Construction requirements vary from region to region. If you’re traveling abroad, keep in mind that the hotel you plan to stay in might not adhere to the same accessibility regulations as the USA.
Don’t assume that elevators and ramps will be as readily available everywhere as within the state. Make sure you can easily reach the hotel, room, and floor you pick. Ask about backup elevators and wheelchair ramps, even if you require their use only occasionally.
If the hotel you’re planning to stay at has a pool or spa, ask about what measures they take to ensure that someone with orthosis can get in and out of the pool safely. Your hotel might be unable to launder your shrinker socks and liner, so pack extras and carry detergent to ensure hygiene.
Keeping a Time Buffer
Keep in mind that your residual limb might react differently when your level of physical activity changes. Climate changes, heat, and sweat can alter how your orthosis equipment feels. Scheduling time buffers into your travel plan will ensure you don’t miss your bookings and flights.
That is especially true when it comes to booking connecting flights. You might want to break up travel time by booking two connecting flights instead of a single long-haul flight to reach your destination.
While this is a great idea that can help prevent swelling, it’s important to keep ample time between the connecting flights to ensure you can get through security checks.
Don’t forget to keep a few days of rest time after returning from your trip. There might be swelling on your residual limb from the travel. Or you might simply be too exhausted to commute straight to work the next day after returning.
Getting Your Orthosis Through Security
Getting through security with your orthosis gear in tow can seem intimidating. Knowing how the screening will be carried out can restate your fears and better prepare you. Getting to the airport in time is crucial.
Aim for at least a three-hour time buffer during the busy summer and holidays. You might want to increase this time further if the airport is larger. Dress in comfortable clothing in which you can easily and quickly take your orthosis gear and put it back on again discreetly.
The same goes for the shoes. It’s best to keep your carry-on luggage as light as possible to keep your hands free from taking your shoes on and off.
As a general rule, TSA doesn’t require any orthosis or prosthesis equipment to be taken off during security screening. However, it still helps to prepare for the possibility that you might have to remove your gear. You might even volunteer to do so to speed up the screening process.
Expect X-Ray screening, pat-downs, and swabbing of your orthosis gear to be part of the security check.
Consider getting a TSA notification card made. It can save you from explaining your condition countless times to different security officials. It can also accelerate the screening process for you and your travel companions.
Dealing With Swelling
Swelling on the residual limb is a common side-effect of sitting for long hours during your journey. Try and walk about the plane, or stretch your legs at every stop if traveling by bus.
Be it on a bus, train, or plane, request a seat as close to the entrance as possible so you can easily settle in and de-board when needed.
If you take your prosthetics off after settling into your seat, make sure you ask for assistance from a flight attendant or crew member to stow them away safely. It’s also essential to wear a shirker sock to minimize swelling on your residual limb. If your swelling gets out of hand, it can become difficult or even impossible to fit your orthosis gear over your limb.
Traveling With Orthosis Gear Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful!
Remember to ask for assistance when needed and listen to your body’s cues while traveling. It’s easy to forget to take your medication on time and schedule proper rest while on vacation.
Over-exertion can cause pain and swelling in your leg and spoil an otherwise great trip.
Stress-free traveling is easier when you have professional advice to guide you. Talk to a prosthetist before you start planning your trip. Book an appointment with our expert orthosis specialist at Align clinic to address any concerns you might have.
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