Is It Good to Wear Compression Socks on An Airplane?

Travel, especially to a different country on another continent, is exciting. However, the predicament during your flight is not just exhausting when you travel for extended periods. Since there is minimal movement, especially when you board long flights. The dilemma of having swollen feet with discomfort and pain on your legs is something you do not look forward to.
In scenarios such as sitting on your chair for a good 2 hours will already make your legs uncomfortable, let alone sitting on an airplane for hours on end. As you sit still, immobile, and cramped, the blood flow from your abdomen to your legs gets hampered.
The blood vessels are having difficulty transporting blood to your lower extremities and back to your heart. That is the scenario every time you sit for extended periods during a flight.
If you are a frequent flyer, there is also a big chance for you to develop venous problems such as spider veins, varicose, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). So, be mindful of safety measures along with you whenever you travel. As you travel:
  • Keep yourself hydrated - dehydration contributes to poor blood circulation, so drink fluids during a flight.
  • Get off your seat every hour - keep your legs moving so that the blood will not be stagnant and help your blood flow.
  • Stretch up your joints - loosen up those joints and get the juices flowing in them by stretching as you stand up or even in your seat. Just remember to be courteous to the people or person next to you.
  • Limit high sodium foods - this causes water retention. Avoid these kinds of food as much as possible on your way to the airport and during your flight.
  • Avoid too much alcohol - alcoholic beverages are inflammatory drinks that can contribute to swelling of the legs.
  • Wear compression socks - among all those things mentioned, compression socks are your BFF during your plane ride. This will help in increasing blood circulation even when you're on a shorter flight.

1. Why Wear Compression Socks While Flying?

The question lingers in your head, “Compression socks for flying, do they work?” It is a big yes. Not only will it help you with your circulatory functions, it will also help you avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the future.
Just a briefer on venous problems, DVT is a blood clot forming in the deep veins. Those deep veins are the thick blood vessels embedded within the muscle tissues. Meanwhile, spider veins are clusters of tiny veins that are damaged. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are swollen, twisted blood vessels that you can see bulging on your skin.
DVT, if not treated early on, may result in a more serious medical problem, and varicose veins can be painful at times. So instead of waiting for something terrible to develop on your legs, might as well, put on a pair of compression socks rather than suffer later on. These should be reason enough for you to wear compression socks or stockings during long flights.
Three types of compression legwear:
  • Gradual Compression Socks
  • Non-Medical Support HOsiery
  • Anti-Embolism socks
Among the three, if you don’t have any medical conditions that require prescriptive socks. Anti-embolism stockings or socks will work fine for you. Non-Medical support hosiery will also be a good choice and these compression legwear are available online and even at drugstores and pharmacies.

2. How Do Compression Socks Work for Travel

Compression socks function as a leg support to help blood flow on your lower extremities to circulate properly. Sitting for long periods impedes blood flow whether you are traveling by land or air. Since you have very minimal movement, your blood cannot flow smoothly from your upper body down to your legs.
So compression socks help by squeezing your leg muscles encouraging blood flow in your veins. This keeps blood circulation to continuously flow from the heart to the legs and back to the heart, again.

3. How Long Should I Wear Compression Socks

Rule of thumb: wear it for the duration of your flight. If your plane ride is more than 24 hours, remove it before you sleep then wear them back again once you have woken up. You can basically adjust the time of wearing compression socks on your travel, it doesn’t matter. As long as you wear them to help with your blood circulation during your flight.

4. Key Takeaway

Compression socks are necessities you have to bring, and actually wear, when you are onboarding a plane. It isn’t just for comfort per se, but what’s crucial is that you do not develop DVT in the future.
By taking extra care of yourself no matter how excited you are or how busy you get, you have to prioritize your well-being even as you travel. Just remember these few tips, and they will make your life easier and comfortable while you’re up in the air.

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