If you are a frequent traveler, you are familiar with this common problem of feet and legs becoming swollen on long flights and road trips. Most people do not move their feet or walk around on long haul flights, mostly because they fear disturbing fellow passengers.
Did you know that the low cabin pressure in airplanes may lead to thicker blood and poor circulation? If you are not careful, you could be left with hurting, swollen feet and legs, at the end of your journey. This could lead to further complications.
There are many causes of leg and feet swelling. The most common causes of leg edema include –
• chronic venous insufficiency
• pulmonary edema
• deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• heart failure
• liver and kidney disease
• thyroid disease
• standing for long periods
• sleep apnea
• excess salt intake
• lymphedema (accumulation of protein rich interstitial fluid)
• lipedema (fat maldistribution
• medications like antihypertensives, steroids, and hormone therapy
Despite these causes, you can avoid and limit feet and leg swelling during travel. Here are a few tips –
• Request an aisle seat so that you can stretch out your legs. The emergency row seats provide maximum leg space.
• Avoid crossing your legs, if possible.
• You can place your feet on your bag to elevate your legs and avoid pooling of fluid.
• Remove your shoes to allow any excess fluid buildup.
• Stand and walk around the aircraft to improve circulation.
• If you suffer from one of the above conditions, ask your doctor if you should wear compression stockings, which help pump blood back to the heart.
• Massage your feet and calves to increase circulation.
• Extending and flexing your knees/ankles can also boost circulation.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sedatives, and salty snacks.
• Increase your water intake.
• Once you exit the plane, taking a warm shower may help the blood to flow more freely.
While these tips may help with leg swelling, talk to your doctor in advance whether you can travel and what precautions you should take.
Our busy lives make it easy to overlook these simple measures, but it is important that you understand and follow them. Even if you are healthy, following them can help prevent discomfort, swelling and any possible complications.
If you are struggling with a foot or ankle problem, don’t wait for it to disappear on its own. Left untreated, even seemingly harmless and minor problems may worsen and may lead to serious health issues. Talk to a podiatrist or foot doctor right away.
If you are looking for the best foot and ankle specialist in Phoenix, Arizona, call Oasis Foot and Ankle Center at 602-993-2700 right away.