While traveling, it’s common to experience some mild to moderate foot swelling. Flight travel can even increase your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. This condition is a result of a blood clot forming deep within your veins, typically in the legs. If you’re one of the many people who experience swelling during travel, compression may be able to help you. It can lower your risk of developing blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, and other uncomfortable and painful conditions.
Foot swelling is very common in longer airplane rides where individuals are inactive. Gravity while sitting for a long period can also be a causing factor. When you sit, the position of your legs increases the pressure in your leg veins and blood can pool. This is because fluid escapes the blood and moves into the surrounding soft tissue in your legs.
Compression socks can promote blood to flow from your feet back to your heart to cut down on the chances of blood pooling in your legs. This, in turn, may reduce the volume of fluids seeping through to your soft tissue and prevent uncomfortable swelling.
They also keep your legs engaged by fitting tightly. This can encourage circulation to continue to work effectively to prevent blood clots and other more serious vein issues.
Wearing compression socks is simple, and anyone can reap the benefits. There are a couple of steps to follow to ensure your travels go smoothly and your socks work. First, you need to pick a type of compression sock. For minor swelling, a typical compression sock should be fine. If you are prone to leg and feet swelling, you may want to consider compression thigh highs. Next, you need to decide on a compression level. If you have minor swelling and manageable discomfort, a low-level of compression will most likely be fine. If you have severe swelling or are prone to blood clots, talk to your doctor to determine which higher level of compression is best for you.
Pro Tip: Wear your compression socks to the airport so you’re ready to board. Pack a second pair for your return flight.
To put on your compression socks and ensure they fit properly, start by rolling the sock until you get to the toe. Then, insert your toes into the sock comfortably. Start to unroll the sock over your heel, calf, and then the rest of your leg if you’re using compression thigh highs. Your socks should feel snug but comfortable.