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Going to France with a broken foot - help!

Going to France with a broken foot - help!

Mar 21st, 2011, 05:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
Well, part of the appeal of this particular trip is that we'e going with a group of friends - that wouldn't happen again. And, yes, we do hope and expect to go back again sometime. Now that we are empty nesters, we're trying to do a lot of traveling, making up for all those years we couldn't do much when we were raising our kids.

I might not be able to do some of the group activities, but the trip is paid for - so even if I spend a lot of my time just sitting in a sidewalk cafe drinking coffee and/or wine and people watching, isn't that better than not going to France at all? I can get wheelchairs when we go to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay if I need them. I will have the advantage of being with a number of good friends, who I know will be helpful and caring. There are a couple of others in the group with some mobility issues, so I'll have some company if I have to take things slowly.

My doctor was pretty encouraging about what she thought I might be able to do. The fracture is a simple, clean one, and she thought it should heal nicely.

The knee walker is easy to use, and has good brakes (that can be locked). I don't think it is at all dangerous to use. My biggest concern right now is stairs (and dealing with my luggage).

I appreciate everyone's concern - I certainly wouldn't be attempting this if I didn't feel I have a lot of support from my husband and friends.
Sara is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Are you going on your own (w/o your husband)? If so then request assistance (wheelchair) at the airports. The people who assist you will take your luggage off the carousel and wheel it for you. At the hotel I'm sure someone in your group or a porter will bring the luggage to your room and set it on a stand for you.

I would not rely on the museums having wheel chairs as I believe the chairs are first come, first served and there may not be any available when you get there. I would plan on renting a wheel chair once you get to Paris. I think this will be a lot easier for you than the knee walker and less tiring in large museums.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 30
I was 67 so at 57 you might be able to cope. JKBRITT has a wonderful suggestion, one I should have remembered...take the bus in Paris. A bus is easier to get on and off and you get to see more. Bon Voyage and as the French say bon courage!
tucsonbabe is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 06:43 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
I have been warned to not to try and walk much wearing ballet flats as the cobbles etc are so difficult to endure for any distance.

I wish you the best.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2011, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
Knee Scooters / Walkers aren't commonly available in Europe according to many of our customers. They took they right on the plane and hand them stored in the first class closet along with the baby strollers. You may want to call the Airlines to confirm. (Folded knee Scooters are about 17" wide x 16" tall x 30" long and wieght about 22 lbs) Many are narrow enough to fit right down the aisle of the plane. Then they can store it for you and have it available as soon as you de-plane (you'll probably be the last eon to leave) It you do travel with a Knee Scooter, don't let them toss it underneath with the luggage. You'll most likely find it at baggage claim broken.

Around cobble stones you may still need crutches but for most developed areas it should give you mobility and stability. Make sure the scooter has a basket ot free up you hands while in use or plan on carrying a back pack.

Helpful sites to get ready include

www.GoodbyeCrutches.com (rents crutch alternatives - I work for them)

www.MyBrokenLeg.com Great forum out of Australia. If you post a question you'll get lots of advice from others on one foot.

Don't put your life or your trip on hold!

Tom Schwab
Goodbye Crutches
Tom_Schwab is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2011, 07:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
I found out that our trip insurance actually does cover trip cancellation, with a doctor's note, but it would only be valid for me to cancel, not my husband (he's going too). Besides, I really don't want to give up this trip, even if I can't do everything I'd planned; I've been looking forward to it for a long time. I have arranged to have wheelchairs in the airports, and the tour director has already reserved wheelchairs for me in the museums we'll be visiting.

I've already rented a knee walker, and have arranged with Air France to bring it along at no extra charge, although I was told I'd have to check it. Tom, when I get to the airport I'll ask about bringing it on board and storing it in the first class closet, thanks for that tip. I'd rather do that if they'll let me, and not risk having it lost or damaged.

Fortunately, my foot hurts much less now than it did a couple of days ago, so I'm hopeful that means it won't hurt too much during the trip, as long as I'm careful.
Sara is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2011, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
what I don't understand is how you plan getting around paris? my experience is that many streets and metro stations are not friendly to people with walking issues.
mztery is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2011, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 31
Sara, I have to say I really admire and applaud your attitude in the face of this. As someone who lives every day with a chronic illness that causes intermittent mobility problems and fatigue, I'm really horrified at the majority of the responses you've gotten here. You would think that Paris was completely off limits to anyone with mobility problems! And the pessimism demonstrated by so many responses is really just staggering. Yes, you may have to cut your days shorter or miss out on some of the planned activities. You may have to see the famous masterpieces in the Louvre from a wheelchair, but you'll hardly be the first! And last I checked, a broken foot in no way stops you from finding a cute cafe, ordering a cafe creme, and watching Paris walk by. You'll have your husband and friends with you for support, and it sounds like they're already on board with doing what they can to help. So just relax and enjoy France!

The one piece of advice I would give is to think about what you'll wear on your broken foot, under/over the cast, to keep it warm/dry in the chilly and wet weather this time of year. In my experience with my own mobility problems, if I'm warm and comfortable in all ways other than the pain, I can keep going much longer than if I'm cold, tired, *and* in pain.

Best of luck with the foot, and have a great time in France! I'll be a few weeks behind you, possibly with my cane in tow.
GlassCannon is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2011, 09:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,689
I think some people are being overly negative. Not every street in Paris has cobblestone, and even a lot of the ones that do have a smoothed track for people who need it.

All of the buses are handicap accessible (middle door) if you have trouble getting up the two steps at the front of the bus. An electric ramp slides out to the sidewalk.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 24th, 2011, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,065
for me the concern is how recent the injury is, not just that the OP has mobility problems. Plenty of people navigate foreign cities in wheelchairs, canes etc. but this injury is so recent it seems like a misstep will be more problematic than if it was a handicap or other mobility problem.
mztery is offline  
Mar 24th, 2011, 07:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 637
I'm very appreciative of the fact that so many of you have taken the time to respond, and your input has given me a lot of helpful information, and things to consider. I've been trying to do as much research as I've had time for about accessibility in France - I've found quite a lot about Paris and nearby, but not so much about other locations. I'm resigned to the fact that I won't be able to do all of the things on our itinerary, I may have to park myself in a cafe or on a bench while my friends are exploring, but I'm determined to make the most of what I can do.

By the time we arrive in Paris (after our overnight flight) it will have been 13 days since I broke my foot. Right now (a week before departure) I'm not in much pain, unless I touch the injured area or put weight on that foot - I actually have to be careful about that, as I forget, since it's not hurting otherwise. The air cast seems to be giving me a lot of protection.

The biggest issue I'm dealing with right now is whether we should continue with our plans for the trip extension to spend five nights in the Loire Valley, or just spend those extra days in Paris, and maybe do some day trips instead. I may start a new thread to ask for advice about that, but not right now - maybe tomorrow. If we do that, I'll have to get busy arranging a hotel room in Paris for those extra nights, and cancel the reservation we have in Chenonceaux.
Sara is offline  
Mar 24th, 2011, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 10
maybe not your thing but I found I can get a real pace up and get around a city quite well on a well adjusted set of crutches - make sure the underarms are padded and get use to them now. You may need a needle for any long flights check with your gp to avoid issues with DVT

Steps will be a challenge but not impossible - down is easy its the up.

Mont st michel is beautiful even if you just go and have lunch on the balconies

Giverney will be fine its really leisurely pace anyway and the chateaus all look great even if you cant climb the stairs but slowly up works well too

Really comfortable running shoes a must always in France anyway but especially on crutches

I WOULD GO STILL if you really want to but just be prepared
AlliMAus is offline  
Mar 24th, 2011, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 503
Make sure you have a long heart-to-heart talk with your doctor. Know the medical limitations, and the effect of a long flight ... and assess the risk WITH YOUR DOCTOR of doing long term damage that would eityher greatly delay, or prevent, healing.

But, IF the doctor presumes its not too great a risk, if it were me, I'd probabbly go, but I'd plan other things so you are not a burden on your tour group.

You may also want to carry a letter from your doc informing the airline that you can fly for use if you need it. I had an emergency surgery and the airline objected to me flying for awhile.

Now, about things to do. Give some thought and plan ahead. Plan some sedentary things in advance. The normal walking for even a "fit" person can be exhausting on a speciad trip. And the problem of cobblestones, bad pavement, stairs, etc. can't be over estimated. You likely may NEED lots of rest while the others are being active.

Turn the trip into something uniquely special.

Are there sedentary things you could do related to your tour while the others are more active? If its ith a church group, maybe they could contact churches there and see. There could be things you could volunteer for for parts of a day. Or researching church records if you know any French. Or perhaps just sitting in a sidewalk cafe'. Do you have any intersets or hobbies that you could pursue there?

But for sure plan some sedentary things. I've always been disturbed that in my trips to Europe I have not gotten more immersed in the culture ... been to busy looking at eye candy sights. I could imagine turning that problem into a very positive experience (though not a standard tourist experience).

And there will probably be days you you just can't push yourself to keep up and get depressed about not being able to do what the group is doing. Whatever you do, don't just retreat to your hotel room or mope around. Enjoy France like a frenchman ... even if it means enjoying it like the many Frenchmen with broke feet.
elbegewa is offline  
Mar 24th, 2011, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,588
If you go, book wheelchair assistance at the airports; will make life a lot easier
alihutch is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 08:18 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 4
Sara - would LOVE to know how your trip went and what advice you have - PLEASE!! I have a jones fracture and cannot put weight on my foot and we leave for Paris in 3.5 weeks and I'm trying to decide about canceling or moving forward. Please let us know!!
SEFed is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 02:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 265
We were in a similar predicament in regards to a trip to Rome last Autumn when my teenage son broke his leg a week or so before departure. He was totally non weight bearing and was not allowed to put his foot to the floor. We considered cancelling thinking we would be very limited and we had full cancellation insurance.

However in the end we went [encouraged by some previous posts on fodors] and had a fantastic time seeing nearly everything we wanted to. We took a lightweight wheelchair but did not use it an awful lot [I think a knee scooter would be have been better but could not find any place to hire them from in UK where we live]. Before we went we had read about problems with wheeelchairs and cobbles and steps but as, unlike some wheelchair users, he could get out and hop up steps on crutches etc it was not a problem. He mainly used crutches and found he could go around 1/4 mile between short 'rest breaks', we took more taxis than we normally do, we sat in more street cafes than we normally do, we found seats in the sun outside the sights enjoying the view and the street life. We had a really great time albeit at a slower pace than envisaged and are so glad we did not cancel.
loncall is offline  
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