Complete Guide to Compression Socks for Flying

Complete Guide to Compression Socks for Flying

Should you wear compression socks when you fly? Yes!

Have you ever gotten off a plane to find your ankles swollen and your legs feeling tight and painful? It is no fun. Traveling can be so great but no one wants to start their trip feeling uncomfortable. There is also a risk of developing blood clots on a flight. The risk is low but it does go up as travel time increases.

Why do my feet swell when flying?
Believe it or not it doesn’t have anything to do with flying but is a result of immobility.
Sitting with your feet on the floor for a long period causes blood to pool in your leg veins. The position of your legs when you are seated also increases the pressure in your leg veins. These things combined can cause legs and feet to swell.

Compression Socks to the rescue!
Compression socks are a great tool to decrease swelling, increase comfort and make sure you arrive at your destination ready to go.

Compression socks can help prevent swelling
As mentioned above, sitting for long periods- like during a flight can cause fluid retention in your legs below the knee. This can easily be prevented with the right compression socks.

The best way to keep blood moving is to walk around and stretch. But there is not a lot of room to do this on a plane. Compression socks help prevent swelling by promoting improved blood flow in your legs by gently pushing blood flow up the leg. This helps keep the blood moving and the swelling down.

Compression socks can help fight leg fatigue
When you stand up after a long flight, your legs can be stiff and take a while to get used to moving. In addition to  promoting circulation, compression socks also help fight the feeling of fatigue in your legs.

Keeping the blood flowing and the edema down will help keep your muscles limber and your legs ready for action. 

Compression socks help prevent blood clots
One of the most well-known perks of compression socks is how they can help to prevent blood clots. This is why they are commonly used after surgery!  Blood clots are a concern for many people when traveling by air. By preventing blood from pooling in the lower legs, compression socks help keep blood clots from forming. 

Compression socks can help prevent varicose veins
If you suffer from varicose veins, wearing compression socks can help. Wearing them on a regular basis —  especially if you travel often — will help prevent the decreased circulation that can cause varicose veins to be more painful and prominent. 

For compression socks to do their job, there are a few things to consider.

Buy compression socks that go over your calf.
Compression socks that only go to the ankle aren’t going to do the job. The socks need to be over the calf to provide the circulation and comfort you need.

Buy compression socks that fit.
Too small and they will be uncomfortable and could cause more circulation issues than they solve. Too big and the benefits of the compression will be diminished. 

Buy the right level of compression.
The level of compression the socks provide is indicated by mmHg. This stands for millimeters of mercury and it is a measure of pressure. It is also used when taking blood pressure. Compression socks come in many different levels of compression but for flying, socks with 8-20 mmHg are going to be your best bet. Many socks will fall in between this range like 8-15 mmHg, 12-14 mmHg or 15-20 mmhg. Compression levels over 20 mmHg are best worn when prescribed by a doctor.

One more- very important- thing.
Don’t forget about style! Compression socks don’t have to be boring white or black. There are so many cute styles available. From florals to stripes and polka dots. There are even lightweight compression socks if you are traveling to someplace hot! Find some compression socks you love, and have a great trip :)

See Ease Living's Selection of Compression Socks HERE.

ease living owner occupational therapist

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