- Causes of Swollen Feet and Ankles When Flying
- Keep Your Feet Happy: Tips to Prevent Swollen Feet and Ankles During Air Travel
- When to Seek Medical Attention for Swollen Feet and Ankles After Flying
Foot swelling during air travel is a common and typically harmless phenomenon.
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind swollen feet and ankles during flights and offer tips to help you prevent this discomfort during your next journey.
As someone who has experienced swollen ankles after flying, I can attest to the inconvenience this causes, especially if you’re trying to explore your destination after a long flight.
Causes of Swollen Feet and Ankles When Flying
Changes in cabin pressure
Air travel is common, and changes in cabin pressure can cause foot and ankle swelling.
The increased pressure in your leg veins can lead to fluid buildup and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. This process, known as edema, can cause them to swell during flight.
Sitting for extended periods during your flight, particularly with your legs crossed, can lead to swellness.
This position of your legs when you are seated may cause blood to pool in your lower legs and feet, leading to swelling.
It’s important to move your legs as much as possible and flex your feet to promote blood flow in the leg and ankle areas.
Dehydration and salty foods
Dehydration during air travel can cause foot and ankle swelling. Drinking too little water and consuming salty snacks can increase swelling.
The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding salty foods and staying hydrated during flights to minimize this risk.
Keep Your Feet Happy: Tips to Prevent Swollen Feet and Ankles During Air Travel
Move about the cabin
Regular movement is crucial to prevent swollen feet and ankles during air travel.
Make sure to get up and walk the aisle, stretch, and perform simple in-flight exercises to maintain blood circulation in your legs and feet.
Stay hydrated and avoid salty snacks
To avoid swellness when flying drink plenty of water, and avoid salty foods. Pack healthy, low-sodium snacks for your journey to reduce the risk of swelling.
Elevate your feet
Raising your legs can help prevent swelling in your feet and ankles during flight. Position a pillow or footrest beneath your feet to keep them elevated while sitting with your feet on the floor.
Wear compression socks
Wearing compression socks can help reduce swelling during flights.
These socks apply gentle pressure to your leg veins, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Choose the right compression socks to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness.
When to Seek Medical Attention for Swollen Feet and Ankles After Flying
Signs of concern
While swelling in your feet and ankles after air travel is common and usually harmless, some symptoms may warrant medical attention.
These include excessive swelling, leg pain, increased skin temperature, and redness. If these symptoms persist or worsen hours after the flight, consult a health care provider.
Consult with a medical professional
If you experience persistent or severe foot and ankle swelling after flying, be sure to contact a podiatrist (DPM) or another medical professional. They may recommend treatments such as compression stockings, orthotics, or blood thinners, depending on the cause of your swelling.
In conclusion, foot and ankle swelling during air travel is a common and typically harmless occurrence.
However, understanding the causes, such as changes in cabin pressure, prolonged inactivity, and dehydration, can help you take proactive steps to prevent swollen ankles and feet during your next adventure.
Be sure to move about the cabin, stay hydrated, avoid salty snacks, elevate your feet, and wear compression socks to keep your feet and ankles comfortable during flights.
If you experience symptoms that concern you, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention or consult a podiatrist for professional guidance. By following these tips, you’ll be better prepared to enjoy your travels without the discomfort of swollen ankles and feet.
What can I do to prevent swollen feet and ankles during flights?
To prevent swelling during flights, move about the cabin regularly, stay hydrated, avoid salty snacks, elevate your feet, and consider wearing compression socks to improve blood flow in your legs.
When should I be concerned about swollen feet and ankles after flying?
Seek medical attention if you experience excessive swelling, leg pain, increased skin temperature, or redness that persists or worsens hours after your flight. These symptoms could indicate a more serious issue.
Can compression socks help reduce swelling during flights?
Yes, compression socks can help reduce swelling by applying gentle pressure to your leg veins, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Should I consult a podiatrist if I have swollen feet and ankles after flying?
If you experience persistent or severe foot and ankle swelling after flying, consult a podiatrist or another medical professional. They can recommend treatments based on the cause of your swelling.