Wearing Compression Socks For Air Travel
Are compression socks good for air travel? Swollen legs and feet after a long flight are uncomfortable but not uncommon. When you spend a lot of time in a confined space and cannot move around much, the veins in your legs have difficulty circulating blood back up to your heart. This can cause pressure and swelling in the lower half of your legs.
Wearing compression socks while flying is a popular method of preventing post-flight swelling. While compression socks do have benefits for air travelers, there are some things you should know before giving them a try. This article will review the benefits and potential side effects of wearing compression socks during air travel.
Benefits of wearing compression socks while flying
When you’re on a flight that lasts 4 hours or longer, chances are, you’re not going to move around too much during that time. When you’re cramped in a small space and not moving around, circulation between your heart and lower legs slows down.
Your calf muscles are what send blood from the bottom half of your body back up through your circulatory system to your heart. When these muscles aren’t constricting, circulation isn’t happening efficiently. You may experience swelling, tingling, and discomfort. The reduced circulation can also put you at a higher risk for pulmonary embolisms and blood clots.
Wearing compression socks for air travel work by evenly distributing pressure between your legs and ankles, encouraging normal blood flow. This prevents your blood from pooling in the lower half of your body and discourages the formation of blood clots, as the blood can still pass in and out of the heart efficiently. Not only do compression socks help with potential health issues, but they also help alleviate more minor issues, such as slight swelling or general aches and pains. This means you can enjoy your flight instead of focusing on your discomfort.
If you don’t have a prescription for compression socks, nonmedical compression socks are generally recommended for travel. These types of compression socks can be easily purchased from SmoothToe online. You can choose a compression level according to what makes you most comfortable.
When do you put compression socks on during the day of air travel?
To wear compression socks for flying, you may want to practice putting them on a few times before your flight. Getting them on your feet, especially in the tight confines of an airplane, can take some getting used to. The best time to put them on might be right before you board while you’re waiting at your gate.
Potential side effects of wearing compression socks while flying
Wearing compression socks while flying does have some side effects. Even if you’re used to wearing compression socks at home, the dry air, cramped conditions, and unpredictable nature of air travel can make side effects more likely.
Possible side effects of wearing compression socks while flying include:
- Loss of circulation
- Burning or chafing
- Bruises and broken skin
Keep in mind that when your compression socks are properly fitted, side effects aren’t as likely to occur. Misuse and overuse of compression socks can increase your chances of these potentially uncomfortable symptoms.
Tips on How to avoid blood clots while flying
Compression socks aren’t the only option for avoiding blood clots while traveling. Other tips include:
- Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing that encourages healthy circulation.
- Maximize in-flight legroom by stowing all your belongings in overhead compartments.
- Drink plenty of water before and during your flight.
- Avoid high-sodium and salty foods while you’re at the airport and in flight.
- If you’re permitted, stand up and walk the length of the airplane every hour or so during long flights.
When you should consult your doctor
If you suspect you have blood clots or DVT, you should speak to a doctor, regardless of whether you have a big trip coming up or not.
Signs and symptoms that should warrant immediate medical attention include:
- Swelling in one leg or both legs
- Persistent leg cramps that you can’t get rid of
- Visible veins in your legs that are red or swollen to the touch
- Sudden redness or skin discoloration on your leg
Are compression socks good for air travel?
Compression socks are a simple treatment that can make long flights and car trips more comfortable. If you have a history of blood clots or venous insufficiency, compression socks can promote healthy circulation and ease your peace of mind while flying.
If you already wear over-the-counter nonmedical grade compression socks often, you might want to consider upgrading to a prescription pair through your doctor. Never ignore or try to self-treat symptoms of DVT. The condition can be life-threatening and should always be addressed by a medical professional.