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Going to France with a broken foot - help!

Going to France with a broken foot - help!

Mar 20th, 2011, 07:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Going to France with a broken foot - help!

I'm so bummed out - we leave in nine days for our first ever, long-awaited trip to France - and I broke my foot yesterday! We'll be in Paris for 7 days, Dinan for 3, and Chenonceaux for 5. The first 10 days are with a group, and there is a lot of walking in our itinerary - right now I'm not allowed to put any weight on the foot, and I won't know how long that will last until I see the orthopedic doc later this week.

I was wondering about the possibility of renting a knee walker to help me get around. Can anyone advise whether this would be a good idea? I don't know if there's anywhere I can rent one in Paris, but I also don't know whether it would be useful in France. I know there are no curb cuts, and cobblestones, etc. might be a problem. I'd appreciate any feedback on this idea, and any other advice about my situation.

We will also be visiting Mont St. Michel, St. Malo, Chartres, and Giverney, in addition to lots of chateaux in the Loire Valley. I'm determined to see and do as much as I am able.

Thanks for any help!
Sara is offline  
Mar 20th, 2011, 07:51 PM
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Since there are a few discussions about trip insurance on Fodor's right now, I guess I'll ask -- Did you buy trip insurance?

I can't imagine doing alot of walking on a broken foot, but maybe your ortho doctor can give you some guidance. I went to Europe 3 weeks after knee surgery and was in quite a bit of pain.
bettyk is offline  
Mar 20th, 2011, 08:48 PM
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Forget the Mont St. Michel; or at least going into the church. You'll see it from the parking lot. Giverny is not particularly wheelchair friendly in that the walks in the garden are not paved, although they might be around the pond. You will need to rent a wheelchair, which is not expensive (we paid 16€ a week for one), but how willing is the tour willing to deal with a wheelchair bound individual? I doubt that walking is an option. My wife broke her ankle (not a serious break, which many people would have simply taken as a bad sprain were it not for the x-ray) in Sicily last year, and was basically wheelchair bound for five weeks.
Michael is offline  
Mar 20th, 2011, 10:16 PM
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It is easy to rent a wheelchair if you need one.

All of the curbs are lowered at street corners to facilitate all rolling items (usually strollers). Since I now have to take my mother around in a wheelchair, I can attest, however, that some curbs are better than others.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 20th, 2011, 10:54 PM
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I "walked" all over Paris after four months of physiotherapy after breaking my foot and tearing the ligaments.

Although the injury was ostensibly mended it was difficult (swollen foot, pain, stiff hip from limping),so I'd have to say I'd be very dubious about your chances for even putting full weight on the foot before you leave.

A wheelchair is really your only option.

Cobblestones are no friend of any foot injury. Narrow streets mean a lot of ducking and diving too, and this was much worse in a way, as the constant twisting etc was bad for my foot.

Is there any way you can reschedule?

I know you're deeply disappointed, and even though kerouac suggests a wheelchair this still makes a tour very, very difficult.

Best of luck to you, but if it were me I'd never even consider going....
Libretto is offline  
Mar 20th, 2011, 11:19 PM
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Are you in a cast? If so, I'd worry about the flight and swelling. I once broke my foot and wasn't allowed to put any weight on it for 5 weeks. The one evening I didn't elevate my foot it swelled and was very painful. Seriously consider postponing the trip.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 01:53 AM
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Worse than walking will be climbing stairs. Every Metro station will be an agony. Same with the chateaux. IMO postpone.
spaarne is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 03:54 AM
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Boy, the metro comment is right on. I would call your orthopod and ask NOW about what he sees for your walking ability. The "good" part of this being a tour is that you undoubtedly have trip insurance and it may be able to "kick in", as disappointing as it may be not to go. It would be more disapointing not to do all you are wanting.
Gretchen is online now  
Mar 21st, 2011, 04:20 AM
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If you can put weight on your foot, a collapsible lightweight walker, one with a seat, would help but honestly am not sure it would help you keep up with a walking tour.

I just threw my back out in Paris. People were very, very accomodating but there was so much I couldn't do. Uneven paving was agony. The trip, fortunately only a long weekend, and not a tour, was almost a total bust. But, ask me about the wallpaper in my hotel bedroom.

For the first time, however, I took notice of ramped crosswalks, there were many, as even stepping off a curb was agony.

Finally, as others have stated, the portable wheelchairs are virtually useless on anything other than
smooth pavement. If you go the wheelchair route, get a proper one which you can wheel yourself, so that you're not 100% dependent.

Am really sorry. Try to postpone. Good luck!
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 04:24 AM
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Last fall I visited most of the sights you mention. I have some permanent walking problems and believe me, what you will be able to do will be very limited, especially in the chateaux and at Mont St. Michel. If at all possible, reschedule.
tom18 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 05:03 AM
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When I read the title of the thread, I thought "No problem, I went to Paris with a cast on my foot," but when I saw "no weight," it sounds like you're in a lot worse shape than I was. I'd vote for rescheduling, too, if that's feasible for you. I'm so sorry.
YankyGal is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 06:35 AM
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If you are put in a cast, you are out of luck. If the break is really a fracture and you are put in a walking boot, you might be able to make the trip.
I broke my foot shortly before our two week trip to France in 2007. We spent time in both Paris and Dijon and traveled by train between the two cities. Many of the Metro Stations in Paris have escalators and/or elevators. Stairs will have to be taken very slowly. The French are quite accomodating. They will not knock you over!
You would have to shorten your days somewhat as the pain does kick in at the end of a day. A collapsible cane might be a help.
You did not mention your age. This, too, is a factor. The younger you are, the more you will be able to do. I was in my late 60's and it was tough but we were glad we went ahead with the trip.
All of the above assumes a walking boot not a cast. If you are in a cast then cancel. I hope you have trip insurance.
tucsonbabe is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Thanks, everyone. The only trip insurance we have is emergency evacuation/medical, not trip cancellation.

I saw the orthopedic doctor this morning, and the good news is that now I'm allowed to put 25% of my weight on that foot - it's not great, but much better than none at all (it was the ER doc who said not to put any weight on it until I saw the orthopedist). I have another appointment next Monday, so maybe she'll give me the go-ahead then to put more weight on it. She said she likes to have her patients go to full weight bearing 2 -4 weeks after the injury, depending on how well they're healing. So I may be more limited at the start of the trip, but with luck, my mobility will improve as the trip progresses. I'm in an air cast, which can be easily removed and adjusted if I have any problem with swelling.

We are not able to reschedule this trip - we're traveling with a group from our church, led by one of our ministers; the trip is called "tracing the steps of the Transcendentalists in France". In addition to many usual tourist sites and museums, we'll focus on places and things that many of the Transcendentalists and those associated with the Transcendentalist movement experienced when they visited France in the mid-19th century. This trip has been in the planning stages for a year. I may not be able to do everything that the rest of the group does, but I want to do as much as I can. The only part of our itinerary which is flexible is the part in the Loire Valley - my husband and I are doing a six day trip extension, and Chenonceaux is where we planned to base ourselves during our extra days. We may have to rethink that now, if there are many stairs in the chateaux we want to visit - or spend less time there, and go somewhere else for part of that time (I'm open to suggestions!).

I have rented a knee walker, which should help with my mobility - the only thing it can't do is climb stairs. I've arranged to check it on our Air France flights for free, as it is a medical device - so now I don't have to try and rent one when we get there. In case you don't know what a knee walker is, it's like a scooter with a raised pad that you kneel on with the leg that has the injured foot, and you push it along with your good leg - you steer it with a handle similar to one on a bicycle, and it has a hand brake like a bicycle. I'm glad to hear about the lowered curbs at crosswalks - I assume this is only in Paris, and not the other places we'll visit.

Tucsonbabe, to answer your question, I'm 57, and pretty active.

I appreciate all of the responses and advice, this is very helpful.
Sara is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 02:02 PM
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I wish you luck, Sara, as this is no doubt going to be a real challenge. Just bear in mind that pharmacies in France are wonderful, and you should feel free to go to them for advice on anything. They can arrange for rentals of a knee walker, a wheelchair, just about anything, as well as give you practical advice and dispense medicines you might not even need you know. I know you've already got the knee walker, but for anything else or maybe even a better alternative, visit a pharmacy.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 21st, 2011, 02:29 PM
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If it is not to late, look into renting, leasing, or buying, using a prescription from your Dr., an electric scooter. Do not get one of those 300 pound ones, get one that weights around 80 lbs or less. You will have to get a converter to change the plug from French to US, but the battery charger should handle both currentf fine. The airline will take it for free. It is useless on the Metro however, as is the knee walker. Get a good bus map and plan to use the buses a lot, whichever mode of mobility you decide to use.
jkbritt is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 02:55 PM
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I agree that this is going to be a challenge, and, from my experience, it is likely to be a painful one. I don't think you fully appreciate the difficulty you will face walking up and down stairs and on cobblestones. I wish you the best.

I hope this is a lesson for some of the naysayers that it pays to fork over a few dollars for trip cancellation insurance as life is full of risks we can't always anticipate.
bettyk is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 04:26 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly about trip insurance, but the OP has explained that it wouldn't have mattered in this case - the trip is not replicable.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 21st, 2011, 05:04 PM
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That is a bummer. I have seen the knee walker in use, and know I would KILL myself. Sorry. I am amazed that your tour ONLY had cancellation insurance. I would ASK them if anything else is possible, if you are interested in pursuing that. That it didn't have 'any' medical is poor planning.
Gretchen is online now  
Mar 21st, 2011, 05:16 PM
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I can't believe you would even consider using that walker on a trip like this - it looks like an accident waiting to happe; n.

Just because your doctor [might] say you can put more weight on your foot, you need to be realistic as to how much you will really be able to do and the possibility that you could do damage to your healing fracture.

There is no way I would go on a trip with so much difficult terrain, I would much prefer to go another time when I could really see and do what I wanted to see and do.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 05:58 PM
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StCirq, I understand but under normal circumstances (like most Fodorite trips), she would have been protected with trip insurance.
bettyk is offline  

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