Air travel can be stressful. From the long lines at the airport to the walking to the time you have to endure sitting still on a plane, the transit time and journey take their toll. You may notice ankle and foot swelling after landing and not think much about it. However, it may be your body’s way of telling you something more serious is going on.
In most cases, a little swelling is nothing to worry about, but sometimes it can be an indication of a more serious foot problem; therefore, you need to have it checked out. Also, foot care before and after your flight can help prevent painful, debilitating swelling before, during and after travel.
What Causes Ankle and Foot Swelling?
There are many reasons you may experience ankle and foot swelling during travel, though the most common include:
- Accumulating fluid that builds up in your body during a flight. This is from the limited mobility you have during the trip; limiting also how much blood flows to your joints and limbs.
- Lack of movement. While you sit for hours on a plane, your blood becomes sluggish from that lack of movement. This prevents the blood from flowing and allows it to pool in the extremities (usually legs and feet).
Can You Prevent Swelling?
You cannot control how long the flight is, but there are things you can do before, during and after the flight to prevent painful swelling. Some of these foot care techniques include:
- Wearing support stockings. You can wear these during your longer flights or even short flights. Wearing them before and after can help reduce any post-flight swelling.
- Getting up every 30 minutes. Try to get up and out of your seat to take a walk down the aisles every 30 minutes. If the pilot has given the green light for passengers to move about the cabin, you should use every opportunity to get your circulation going.
- Stretch and flex frequently. While you are sitting, try to stretch and flex the ankles, calves and feet as much as possible during the flight.
The Risks of Swelling During Travel
If you are overweight, you may notice you suffer from swelling more often. Also, women who are menstruating are more prone to swelling and can develop blood clots, especially after long flights. If you do not exercise regularly, you could suffer from edema of the limbs and joints post-flight. Also, the risk for deep vein thrombosis, a serious clot, is heightened after long periods of inactivity.
If you have swollen feet after air travel and the swelling is not reducing after a few hours, contact a foot doctor at Comfort Stride right away. You may have a serious foot problem. Give us a call at 647-989-7794 for a consultation.