If there's one secret that savvy jet-setters swear by, it's the use of compression socks for traveling. Wearing compression socks for long flights has been proven to help to keep swelling at bay, prevent those pesky pins and needles you get from sitting in one spot for too long, and reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can occur when blood clots form in the legs, although this is a rarer occurrence.
In this blog article, we'll explore why you should add a pair of compression socks to your packing list if you're planning a long-haul flight, plus we'll give you some of our top tips for traveling so you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Frequent Flyer? You Might Have Experienced Some of These Symptoms.
Whether you're flying to the Big Apple for business or taking a leisurely trip to see the sandy shores of Bali, if you're a frequent flyer then chances are you've experienced some of the less-than-desirable effects that can come from sitting in a confined space for hours on end.
Spending extended periods of time in an airplane can take a toll on your body if you're not moving around regularly enough and consistently rehydrating. Sitting in a cramped seat for hours on end (yes, business class seats still count as small spaces!) can cause symptoms like leg cramps and swollen feet and ankles (also called edema), and might increase your risk of developing blood clots. Even first-time flyers may notice swollen feet after flying, and this can be a real downer when you want to hit the ground running at your destination.
Some of the most common symptoms of extended air travel include tingling feet and legs, swollen feet and ankles, muscle cramps and aching legs, and in more severe cases, there is a risk of blood clots. These symptoms can occur when you're sitting still for long periods of time because the blood flow in your extremities slows down and can cause the blood to pool in your legs.
Tingling feet and legs
Pins and needles in your feet and legs happen when your blood supply is restricted. Tingling feet can be caused by sitting in the same position for too long and is more likely to happen if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
Swollen feet and ankles
Edema in the feet and ankles can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the tissues of your lower legs and can be a sign that you're not getting enough movement during your flight. Fluid build-up and swelling can also cause the skin on your feet and ankles to feel tight and appear shiny.
Muscle cramps and aching legs
Cramps usually happen when a leg muscle shortens and causes pain. Leg cramps are more likely to happen when you're sitting still for long periods of time and can often happen at night. Aching legs can also be a sign of poor circulation and fluid retention as a result of restricted movement.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Scare tactics and exaggeration are so not our game, which is why we want to preface this section by saying that DVT is a relatively rare condition and the chances of developing it from flying are low. But, because this is a highly-talked-about topic (#trending), we thought we'd throw some facts and figures your way so you can form your own educated opinion!
In extreme cases, long-haul flights might put you at a higher risk for developing DVT and pulmonary embolism (when a clot that forms in the leg breaks off and travels to the lungs). There is a small risk of blood clots forming in your legs during extended air travel because you are immobile for longer periods of time than your body is normally used to. It is said that flights that are 8 to 10 hours or longer have the potential to increase your risk of developing blood clots, and a study has found that the risk of developing a clot on a flight is 1 in 5944 flights.
If the fear of DVT is something that's been stopping you from exploring all the wondrous places the world has to offer, you might need to break open the piggy bank for some brand new luggage because we've got some good news! Studies have shown that wearing compression socks when flying can substantially reduce the risk of DVT. In the next section, we'll explain how compression socks work so you can understand the evidence-based science behind the magic.
Compression Socks: The Secret to a Successful Flight.
Compression socks for travel work by applying gentle, graduated pressure to the legs. This means that they're tighter at the ankles and gradually become looser as they move up the leg. This graduated pressure helps to improve circulation in the legs, which can prevent the pooling of blood and the formation of clots. Compression socks are also effective in relieving other flying symptoms, such as foot swelling, muscle cramps, and leg fatigue. They work by supporting the veins and muscles in doing their job to pump blood back to the heart so you can maintain optimal circulation even when you're not able to move around to promote blood flow.
Compression socks come in different levels of compression. Compression sock levels range from light or low compression to extra-firm or high compression. The level of compression that's right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, but studies have shown that even lightweight compression socks have been effective in improving swelling, fatigue, and aching. Of course, if you have chronic or acute medical conditions, specifically venous insufficiency, you should consult with your doctor to determine if compression socks are right for you and what level of compression would be best.
When to Wear Compression Socks for Traveling
If you're planning a long flight, you'll want to put your compression socks on before your flight. You should ideally choose a premium compression socks brand that uses hypoallergenic, natural materials that won't irritate your skin on your flight, and you should ensure that your compression socks offer a firm but comfortable fit. Test out your compression socks before your flight to make sure they're comfortable enough to wear for an extended period of time but tight enough to do their job properly. Just like a Tinder date, the first time you're alone together should not be on a 10-hour international flight!
If you're sleeping on your flight and able to lie completely flat, you can remove your compression socks while sleeping (because your legs will be at heart level) and then slip them back on when you're in a seated position for the rest of your flight. Pear's range of contemporary compression socks are perfect for air travel because we specifically design compression socks that are easy to put on so you're not flailing around trying to put your socks on while your neighbor is giving you the side-eye.
Top Traveling Tips to Maintain Optimal Circulation During your Flight
In addition to wearing a Pear of compression socks, there are other things you can do to help improve circulation on your flight:
- Wear loose, breathable clothing
- Take a walk around the plane every few hours
- Flex your feet and ankles frequently
- Change sitting positions frequently
- Don’t sit with your legs crossed for extended periods
- Drink plenty of water before and during your flight
- Stay away from salty foods before and during your flight
- Avoid alcohol and sedatives that can dehydrate you or prevent you from having your hourly stroll down the aisle
Whether you're a seasoned traveler or getting ready to embark on your first long-haul flight, make sure to pack a Pear of compression socks for flying with complete peace of mind. While swollen feet from flying is common, you don't have to count yourself among the many millions. Armed with the right compression socks, a few simple in-flight circulation hacks, and a little bit of preventative planning, you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to roll!
At Pear Compression, we design our range of superior-quality compression socks with optimal living and peak performance in mind. Our modern compression socks are perfect for air travel, long days on your feet, or simply lounging around the house. As the best compression socks for travel, Pear's comfy collection includes a sophisticated range of chic and elegant designs that will ensure you look and feel your best while you harness all of the compression sock benefits in style (because matching your compression socks to your carry on is not too much to ask for!).
Mindfully made in Italy with only the finest natural materials, our hypoallergenic compression socks for air travel deliver style, comfort, and function in one luxurious package. Shop our Pink Polka Dot Knee High Socks for the ultimate in compression sock chic, or try our Black & White 'Be Kind' Crews for a fun, flirty take on traditional ankle-length compression socks. With a growing range of contemporary designs, there's a Pear of compression socks for wonderlusters, adventurers, and jet-setters of all stripes! All that's left to do is spin the globe and start planning your next great escape!
While we do make every effort to produce accurate and up-to-date content, the information in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.