Getting Around Gimpy - Need tips for managing a knee injury

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Getting Around Gimpy - Need tips for managing a knee injury

So - I screwed up my knee back in November and I'm really starting to get nervous about vacation. Right now I can barely make it through the grocery store and by the time I'm done standing at the stove cooking dinner I'm feeling the strain. I'm not really feeling like the 53 days we have to go is going to give me the time I need to rehab. My original plan was to only get an EVC for our Magic Kingdom Day, but I'm starting to feel like I'll need to rent one for the whole trip.

Regardless, I know that I'm going to have to stand and walk some. I have crutches, which are a cumbersome bother. I've been toying with the idea of buying a cane. I've never used a cane though and I'm not sure of how much assistance it would really offer me.

Does anyone have and advice for touring with a bum knee?

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I have no advice. I think renting the EVC for the week is probably smart. You don't know how you are going to feel. Even with great knees, my feet and legs get very tired from walking around the parks all day.

Def. wear comfortable, supportive shoes. I am sure you were already planning on that though. mickey

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Right before our 2013 trip, my DH twisted his ankle something awful and toured on one crutch. Have you had your knee looked at yet, because if it needs more than a rest, you don't want to cause further damage, and then an ECV would be the way to go. But, if you go with the crutch idea, lots of breaks and rests. We found lots of nice places to just sit for a bit. On an interesting note, he did try and do BTMR, but the jostling really hurt his ankle. You might experience this with your knee, too.

I never realized until that trip, how steep the ramp is from the monorail. Thank goodness he didn't opt for a regular wheel chair. I don't think I could've pushed him that long. The ramp from POTC is also pretty steep. TTA ramp is also steep, but great to just sit. His favorite that trip was Mickey's Philharmagic. Nice comfy seats, no ramps or stairs. I think we hit it as a walk on. Oh, and Little Mermaid? That que is surprisingly long, even the FP+ side. Not fun for him, at all. I'm sure there were other things that we were surprised about, but those are the ones that stand out.

Lots of trips to the ice machine for ice when we got back to the room. And prescription pain killers, as needed. Good luck!

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According to my research you can end up walking upwards of 6 miles a day at WDW, and most likely more. An ECV sounds like the right choice.

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Mousedreaming wrote:
Right before our 2013 trip, my DH twisted his ankle something awful and toured on one crutch.

That might be an option, just the one crutch vs two. It sounds less cumbersome. I wounder if I could bling it out to look like Minnie Mouse.

I have had it looked at and they couldn't really see that there was anything wrong with it. They gave me a brace and sent me on my happy way. I have not gone to an Ortho guy yet though, that's probably my next step. I just keep hoping that it will stop hurting since they said there was nothing really wrong, but that doesn't seem to be the way it's turning out.

We only have one Park Day, then one day at Typhoon Lagoon and one day at Downtown Disney. After that I'm on the Disney Dream for four night. I'm nervous about dealing with the motion of the ship with the injury. Our room won't fit a ECV in it, and all of the handicap accessible rooms have been filled. I'm just going to have to tough it out there.

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Kristen K. wrote:
So - I screwed up my knee back in November and I'm really starting to get nervous about vacation. Right now I can barely make it through the grocery store and by the time I'm done standing at the stove cooking dinner I'm feeling the strain. I'm not really feeling like the 53 days we have to go is going to give me the time I need to rehab. My original plan was to only get an EVC for our Magic Kingdom Day, but I'm starting to feel like I'll need to rent one for the whole trip.

Regardless, I know that I'm going to have to stand and walk some. I have crutches, which are a cumbersome bother. I've been toying with the idea of buying a cane. I've never used a cane though and I'm not sure of how much assistance it would really offer me.

Does anyone have and advice for touring with a bum knee?

I actually went on one trip with a broken knee in a hip to ankle Velcro cast (I was not able to have surgery b/c the hospital did not have any blood in my type). I had crutches. I was pretty adept with them. They are handy at moving people out of your way! I was fine most of the time with one crutch and used it on the side with bad knee mostly as a buffer from people banging on it. I was not able to move at speed. I opted just to be slow and not rent a wheel chair. My husband ran as a blocker for me a lot of times and most CMs moved me into the Handicap Queue to keep me out of their Standing lines.

The Haunted Mansion, Tomorrow Land People Mover and rides with similar loading were very hard for me and Dave would have to help me get on the ride. (The CMs can not help you and wont always stop the belt for you unless you are in a wheel chair)

Take a suitable pain killer and load up before you head for the parks. (I was fine with Advil but had prescription ones just in case). I did got to the Doc's Office in EPCOT once to take off the cast and clean underneath it. I wore a good pair of sneakers but you will have to wear what is best for you.

If you don't have one get a good brace with metal supports that bend at the joint. It is worth the money for the support of your knee. Wear the brace on the outside of your long pants if you can.

Does that help?

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PJsLife wrote:
Does that help?

It does, thank you!

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I agree with wearing the brace on the outside of your pants. It signals others as to why you may be moving slowly or awkwardly and it gives the CM's a visual cue that you may need additional assistance. If you rent the ECV for the whole trip, can you take it on the ship with you, too?

Until your trip, make sure that you are keeping your knee elevated as much as possible to help take care of swelling. If you can safely take an anti-inflammatory, do. If you've been using ice for awhile and it's not helping, consider heat. One of my knee caps used to slip at the slightest provocation when I was teenager and it would cause my knee to swell. I found that for that particular problem, ice always made it worse. Heat was the key to relaxing the muscles and ligaments around it and getting the knee back to normal. Also, the stiff brace with metal supports was always awesome for helping to correct that problem.

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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
I agree with wearing the brace on the outside of your pants. It signals others as to why you may be moving slowly or awkwardly and it gives the CM's a visual cue that you may need additional assistance. Also, the stiff brace with metal supports was always awesome for helping to correct that problem.

OK, I think I'm going to see about getting a better brace, right now I just have the neoprene sleeve with thin stability on the side. There's no way that would go over my pants. I'll call the doctor tomorrow and see about going in for a new brace and maybe even getting in some PT before the trip.

alicemouse wrote:
If you rent the ECV for the whole trip, can you take it on the ship with you, too?

I don't think so. *If* I could arrange to do that I would have to park the ECV on deck 2 aft when not using it, because it won't fit in our room. Our room is on deck 6 all the way forward. I'm not sure that with the distance away I have to park it would have much of a benefit.

We don't have any shore excursions planned except for relaxing on Castaway Cay. On the ship I'm mainly concerned about stumbling in the halls and creating a bigger problem than the endurance I'll need at WDW. I think one crutch should get me by on while on the Dream. I can walk, and do stairs, I just have to go very slowly. If I try and walk at my "normal" pace the trouble starts. I don't think there will be much late night dancing for me. LoL... but I can drink cocktails while watching my daughter have fun.

It's weird, I'm used to traveling with my disability, but this knee thing has really thrown me for a loop.

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CdnSquirrel wrote:
According to my research you can end up walking upwards of 6 miles a day at WDW, and most likely more. An ECV sounds like the right choice.

Most days this past November we walked anywhere from 8 -13 miles per day.

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I had a torn meniscus and a few other knee problems ahead of our 2010 trip, and I put off surgery until 2011. I used a knee brace, and I also had a gel pack specifically for my knee that I used to ice it during down times. And much as I hate to take any pills, I started loading up on ibuprofen about a week before the trip and took it until after I got home. And I had a 3 shot series of something called Orthovisc about a month before the trip.

I like the idea of a single crutch as well - I was an uncoordinated mess with 2, but one seemed easier for me.

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JeffC wrote:

I like the idea of a single crutch as well - I was an uncoordinated mess with 2, but one seemed easier for me.

awesome

I've started pinning ideas to bling out my crutches for the trip. If I have to take them, they need to be disneyfied.

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I've traveled a lot using a 4-wheel scooter, even a week at WDW. I own my own, so didn't have to rent o ne. There are a limited number of them at WDW, so you might look into renting one at home and bringing it along. The airlines have to transport them free and it makes the trip a lot easier. Of course if you are driving, you'd have to have a larger vehicle. (We flew in and rented a Chevy HHV.)
I've never used it on a cruise, tho, but they have to accommodate you. The cabins on the Disney ships are large so you shouldn't have too much of a problem.

Good luck.

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Kristen K. wrote:
PJsLife wrote:
Does that help?

It does, thank you!

Other than the awesome advice already posted, the only other thing I can suggest is to elevate it at night once you are "done" for the day, get mousekeeping to bring extra pillows. Also anytime you can safely do so, elevate it during the day.

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For the cruise portion of the trip, have you considered a regular old-style non-powered wheelchair? They fold up so one would fit in your room. You could keep it on hand for when walking was wearing you out or the ship's motion was making it difficult to walk, and your daughter could help push it if you found maneuvering on your own difficult.

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crazycatperson wrote:
For the cruise portion of the trip, have you considered a regular old-style non-powered wheelchair? They fold up so one would fit in your room. You could keep it on hand for when walking was wearing you out or the ship's motion was making it difficult to walk, and your daughter could help push it if you found maneuvering on your own difficult.

I had not thought about that, but it may indeed be a better option for me than an ECV. Now I just need to see if there is are any companies that drop off for the cruise line.

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So - I've broken down and decided that the ECV is a must for our 4 nights at WDW. wheelchair
I'm frustrated with this, but better safe than sorry - right? I just need to get over my taking the ECV on the bus issues.
Does anyone know if I can take the ECV on the boat from DTD to Port Orleans?

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I didn't see anyone in an EVC the few times I took the boat between DTD and POR in October. When my mom and I were there in November 2013, we took the boat from OKW after breakfast at Olivia's to DTD and there was a woman with an EVC.

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When we took the boat from Saratoga Springs to Treehouse Villas and then over to DTD, a group of people using wheelchairs and/or ECVs boarded the boat at Treehouse Villas. I don't recall the details of their boarding, but I think the boat pilot pulled out a ramp so some of them could board while in their chairs.

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Fantastic, thanks ladies!

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Depending on the types of boats that run that route, you could possibly need to wait for a specific boat that can handle an ECV. I THINK the regular boats on that route can take ECV's because if I remember correctly, there is a specific area designated as handicapped on the boat; however, I don't ever recall seeing an ECV on those boats. I know that the route between MK and Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness runs two different types of boats. One type accommodates an ECV and the other does not. I believe that the issue on the smaller boats is that it is not a level entry and you can't take the ECV down the two steps to get it into the boat. Can anyone confirm that the Port Orleans-->DTD boats have a level entry?

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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
Can anyone confirm that the Port Orleans-->DTD boats have a level entry?

The boats I took to / from POR did. Here's a picture of one.

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Awesome! Yep, that WL thing is why I was asking.
When we stayed there for Becks' wedding sometimes I had to wait for the right boat to come.

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I'm sure we saw ECV's on the boat from POR to DD. I also seem to remember Joe (Subvet) posting photos of Jan on those boats, with her ECV.

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Yes those boats can take ECV's.

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Kristen K. wrote:
JeffC wrote:

I like the idea of a single crutch as well - I was an uncoordinated mess with 2, but one seemed easier for me.

awesome

I've started pinning ideas to bling out my crutches for the trip. If I have to take them, they need to be disneyfied.

My mother uses crutches and we have managed to bling a pair out reasonably well.
We masked off or removed any of the handle/armgrip parts then used a car paint (in a colour of her selection).then once it was nearly dry sprinkled glitter over them.Once that dried fully we then laquered them.
I will try and get a picture for you later Smile

Oh and be aware if the crutches are aluminium you need a special primer before the paint to help it adhere awesome

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Mrferret wrote:

My mother uses crutches and we have managed to bling a pair out reasonably well.

How cool!! I would love to see a picture. muchlove

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Kristen K. wrote:
Mrferret wrote:

My mother uses crutches and we have managed to bling a pair out reasonably well.

How cool!! I would love to see a picture. muchlove

Hope the picture isn't too bad.
there is a purple sparkly pair
a silver sparkly pair
and tucked away at the back a custom red pair ordered from somwhere online.

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Very nice!

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SPARKLY!

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I went out to the shopping mall yesterday, it was the most walking I have done in two month and I managed without crutches or too much pain. yay

Today however the knee is pretty tender so I have been taking it easy. I was really proud of walking around the mall though.

I also stopped at the craft store and picked up some Duck Tape to bling up my crutches. I found Princess duck tape and blue glitter duck tape and I'm wrapping the poles. So far it's coming along well. I'll post picture when I'm done, I need to buy another roll of the blue glitter tape. stars