After a long flight or road trip many people complain of painful swelling in their legs, feet and ankles, but the risks associated with this type of condition are much more serious than you may realize.
“When legs are immobile for long periods due to injury, surgery or more commonly travel, our calf muscles remain dormant,” said Erin Grigsby, Bauerfeind’s physical therapist. “The movement of our calf muscles uses ‘muscle pump’ to return blood to the heart. Little movement equals little muscle pump, and this can lead to blood pooling, congealing and possibly blood clots. In rare cases you can develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition where a clot breaks free, enters the blood stream and causes heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.”
Little movement equals little muscle pump, and this can lead to blood clots.
Erin says there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your chances of developing circulation problems while traveling:
Watch for the “seat belt sign” – When it goes off, get up and walk around the cabin. This is the most effective way to get your blood pumping, especially on a long flight.
Ankle pumps – If you can’t get up, get your legs moving in your seat. Move your feet and ankles up, down and side to side. Do this at least once every 30 minutes.
Hydrate! – No one wants to use the cabin bathroom, but drinking plenty of water before, during and after air travel is essential for your circulation. Alcohol intake can also dehydrate you quickly, so avoid it until after you’ve arrived at your destination.
Quality compression – Wearing quality, medical-grade compression stockings during travel has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing vein problems*. Bauerfeind’s VenoTrain® Business socks provide Class I (18-21mmHg) graduated compression to stimulate oxygenating blood flow to and from the calves. This increased circulation helps to counteract the effects of immobility to lessen pain and swelling.