Why should you wear compression socks when traveling?
Imagine you’re approaching the end of 20 straight hours of travel, where most of the time was spent sitting down. If jet lag and motion sickness wasn’t enough, you now also must deal with the discomfort of swollen feet and ankles.
So, for your next trip, pack compression socks for travel. They have a multitude of benefits for the everyday traveler.
Minimize Leg Swelling
When sitting down in one position for extended periods of time, leg swelling is a natural consequence and the result of blood pooling in the veins of the lower legs. It can be very uncomfortable, and you may experience symptoms of swelling, fatigue, and general achiness.
Graduated compression socks are engineered to help control swelling in the feet, ankles, and lower legs. The pressure applied to those areas will prevent the buildup of fluid in the tissue and improve blood circulation and oxygen flow. That’s why any traveler who typically experiences leg swelling needs compression socks for traveling.
Keeping Feet Warmer
Have you noticed that when traveling by plane, train or car your feet often feel cold?
When sitting down for hours at a time, the blood isn’t circulating as effective as usual, and our feet will become noticeably colder due to lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Wearing graduated compression socks will help your blood return to the heart for oxygen and keep your feet warmer.
As the most common form of long-distance traveling, most people choose to wear compression socks for airplane flights. Hundreds of pilots around the world choose to wear compression socks for traveling every single flight.
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Immobility and DVT
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 300 million people travel on long-distance flights generally more than four hours each year, as well as travel by car, bus, or train.
For some travelers, blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), can be a serious risk. Although the chances of getting a DVT is small, the risk increases when your legs remain still for hours. That’s why travel compression socks are vital for so many people.
What Exactly Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a DVT happens when a blood clot (also called thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, typically in your legs. DVT can cause leg pain or swelling, but some people don’t experience any symptoms.
While sitting still for hours your calf muscles don’t contract, which normally helps blood circulate. This can cause blood clots to form in the calves of your legs. Deep Vein Thrombosis can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream, and lodge in your lungs where blood flow is blocked.
This is where graduated compression socks come in the picture. The socks are tight at the ankles, becoming less constrictive going up the calves. The constriction provides the veins with the pressure needed to maintain blood flow without clotting.
In addition to wearing compression socks for traveling it is recommended to:
* Drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) liquids during the duration of the trip.
* Regularly mobilize the ankles and massage the calves.
* If traveling by car, make frequent stops to stretch your legs.
* Be attentive for the symptoms of DVT (pain, cramping, or soreness. * Red, discoloring, or a feeling of warmth) particularly in the calves during and after a long trip.
* If symptoms occur, seek immediate medical advice.
Please note that the above is a recommendation to individuals who never have experienced DVTs in the past. If you have a history of DVTs, please visit with your physician before long-distance travel to ensure it’s safe and to learn precautions to minimize risk.
Article credit: Tina Wilson
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