Backpacking, Hostels, "Basic" Travel And Arthritis
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jun 29, 2013 5:02 AM Last Post By: Brax
Jun 3, 2013 9:37 AM
Backpacking, Hostels, "Basic" Travel And Arthritis(Bad title but ...)
Planning on departing for long term low budget travel in a couple of years when a few responsibilities here no longer tie me to "home". My main aims are "to see the world" - preferring wildlife and natural environment (but NOT ziplining, NOT tubing, NOT clubbing, etc.). What I am definitely not keen on is "decent" hotels, cruises, etc. Apart from financial considerations, I just don't enjoy the luxury, don't enjoy being looked-after, I need to sort things out for myself, I need to achieve things not just call hotel reception and be told what I need to do ...
However, been having some foot pain recently and it is getting worse and now I've been told I have osteoarthritis in my feet !! So my long distance hikes are no longer likely and, I'd expect my mobility will probably get a bit worse over time.
Question: Are there people travelling with more restricted mobility and how much of a hindrance is it. I am not one to shy away from challenges.
I would expect everybody's circumstances and limitations are different and to be honest I don't know what state my own mobility will be when I get to depart (at the moment some days are better than others) so I guess there is no "answer" to my question, and maybe I am just looking for assurances that "down to earth" long term travel is still a possibility.
Jun 3, 2013 10:22 AM
1I just got back from 'my' podo-orthotic specialist who made me a pair of custom insoles for... foot pain! Who would have thunk it? Expensive, but they have helped me in the past and have to be re-measured every few years. Have you already explored that route or is this totally new and unexpected to you?
(For info, growing older is new to me, too. But I continue to travel 2-3 months every winter, in the same style that you describe. I think it's possible to travel, solo and intrepid, but it's also wise I find, to recognize what's happening, so take the room with ensuite bathroom, and sagely choose the half-day trek, not the 5-day one.)
Jun 3, 2013 3:02 PM
Jun 3, 2013 9:31 PM
Jun 4, 2013 4:01 AM
Jun 4, 2013 5:35 AM
5Have just returned from 10 weeks backpacking with a weeks stay every now and again if feeling tired and frazzled. Its good to have a kitchen and do your own cooking for a while. I just could not believe the amount of travellers with walking sticks and frames. Very dedicated to spending the kids inheritance, one bloke was 82. Keep on trucking.
Jun 4, 2013 3:52 PM
Jun 4, 2013 4:47 PM
7About 10 years ago a Mexican doctor told me to take cod liver oil capsules for my osteoarthritis. It helps prevent new arthritis areas from forming and also chips away at the old stuff. I had some annoying osteoarthritis in my back and it's disappeared. It takes awhile.
They have good fold up canes for traveling.
Jun 4, 2013 6:24 PM
8I totally know what you are talking about too. My left foot has got very painful so that I use a insert thingy in that shoe....that leg is a little shorter so it helps lift too. Still, when out walking all day I always have a bottle of ibuprofen in my shoulder bag to use. The foot doctor has recommended a cortisone shot before trips ..........am putting it off so far. Anybody had help from those? I used to always travel with a backpack but lately I mostly use a carry on size wheelie bag.....so that my foot does not have to carry the extra weight. I miss the feel of my backpack.
Jun 4, 2013 9:52 PM
9taranaki - In late 1993 had a series of cortisone shots in my big toe that had suffered nerve damage. The consultant said I needed surgery but then I would not have been able to take off on my year-long RTW in 1994. I've not had any trouble with the toe since then. That's not quite the same as arthritis, but I also had arthritis in my shoulders and got the shots for those at the same time. Have never needed any follow-up, on feet or shoulders.
I also have pain in my left foot, got insert thingies made, which worked well for a year, after which they were useless. In 2010 I bought a pair of Sketchers Shape-Ups (for trekking), just on a whim, and from that day on I've not had any foot pain at all. My problem is that I have two "ankle" bones on each foot (from childhood), which stretches the flexy tendons/muscles/whatever, making them deteriorate to the point where I could not flex my feet at all for hours after a short walk. Before I got these shoes I could only walk pain-free for about 20 minutes. Now I can keep going on and on and on. As well, I can walk in sandals and thongs/jandels again,something I haven't been able to do for years. Bliss!
Jun 5, 2013 1:38 AM
10Due to arthritis I've had one ankle fused and two knees replaced - in the past 6 years. During that time I've also spent 6 mos of most years traveling - 1/2 internationally and 1/2 in my own camper in North America. When I am in better shape we do things like backpack around SEA or South America. When I'm struggling we rent cars and small RVs.
We just keep going - husband has stenosis of the back and had a hip replaced 3 years ago. So we are pretty much the poster-kids for arthritis and traveling :)
I always have my folding walking sticks in a day pack and use them a LOT on the cobblestoned streets. They keep my hips/back aligned and take a considerable amount of weight off my feet. I use orthotic inserts in my shoes and have very good walking shoes with rocker soles. I take pain meds with me and an icepak and a hot water bottle. Very hard to buy those in other parts of the world! I've tried.
Don't be afraid. Arthritis is debilitating and painful but it won't kill you. Even if you have a bad attack you can still get yourself onto a train or plane with the help of walking sticks. On this last trip my illeo-sacral joint dislodged in my back and I'll be rehabbing that for months to come but I would not have missed the trip for anything.
These days we are easier on ourselves than we were ten years ago, for sure. I hope I still have some backpacking trips in me but increasingly we are enjoying the luxury of renting small campervan type RVS - our own bed, our own food in the fridge, our own porta pottie :) We use taxis more and treat ourselves to more comfortable (cleaner) guesthouses with better beds.
But we keep going. We just returned 2 weeks ago from 2.5 months in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. We spent last May-August in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. So YES we keep going!
If you'd like to read about some of our adventures go to our website; http://www.lifewellspent.com
Jun 5, 2013 3:33 AM
11Here is a very useful site - http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/AboutArthritis/Conditions/Osteoarthritis - also with links to other sites.
It seems to be a very-well-balanced site, which isn't aiming to sell anything.
Acupuncture is one suggestion which may be of help. But the site also recommends exercise, etc.
Jun 5, 2013 4:59 AM
12I've found travelling with walking stick can be useful - alerts cabin crew and security staff that you have issues. They hae always been helpful. Mine is a carved wooden one I bought in Solomon Islands more than 20 years ago, not a fold-up one, but I have no difficulty getting it into overhead lokers on planes.
Jun 6, 2013 11:34 AM
Jun 6, 2013 6:59 PM
14welcome to the club. I have recently started having problems with knees and feet. I go see a Rheumatoligist tomorrow, and I have been referred to the Arthritis society for education and physio. I have had mild arthritis in my hands for years, but have been able to control it with meds, but the meds aren't even touching the lower extremities. I may need a change. Cortisone shots are good. I have had them for bursitis and they made a real difference. No need to curtain travels, just travel a bit slower, carry a bit less, and carry a lot of analgesics
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