Its no secret that many of us are wanting to get away from the Australian winter and enjoy the warm summer weather of the Northen Hemisphere. Long flights can be uncomfortable at the best of times and one common complaint I hear from our patients is how swollen their feet and legs get. Having recently travelled to Europe myself, I thought I would share some easy things that you can do on a long-haul flight to prevent swollen feet and legs.
Walk around regularly
I would recommend getting up from your seat at least once an hour during your flight and going for a short walk. Yes, you might feel that you are being that difficult passenger, especially if you have to ask the person next to you to move, however walking will help to keep the blood flowing through your legs. While you are up from your set another good idea is to stretch your legs out for a few minutes to help prevent your muscles from becoming tight.
Make sure you sit correctly as much as possible
Most people don’t think about how they sit on flights and wonder why they feel so stiff and sore once they get off the plane. Your posture is incredibly important in how your body will feel during and after a flight. Sitting with your legs cross-legged or with one leg tucked under the other is not something we recommend as it can cut the circulation off to your legs, which leads to unnecessary swelling. If you have a foot rest under the seat in front of you, use it to elevate your feet for as much of your flight as possible, as this can alleviate some pressure in your feet and lower legs.
Keep moving your feet
You are most likely going to have minimal leg room when on flights (except for those lucky individuals who find themselves in business or first class). Even though you cant stretch your legs out from your seat, you can do some simple foot and ankle movements to encourage blood flow. Raising your heels, making circles in both directions with your ankles and squeezing and separating your toes are examples of some of these. Extra Tip (If possible): I recently paid a bit extra for an exit-row seat and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for anyone, whether you have long legs or not. It is an absolute game-changer for long-haul flights and for any future long flights I will be trying to book these seats!
This is something that most passengers on flights will either forget about or just not do. Ensuring you are drinking water regularly not only help your legs and feet during and after the flight, but it also makes you get out of your seat regularly and go to the toilet so you can follow tip #1 on the flight! As tempting it is to take advantage of the free alcohol and caffeinated drinks on the flight, your body will thank you if you stick to water on your flight.
Wear comfortable clothes
Comfort for me on long-haul flights always takes priority over fashion. Wearing tight fitting shoes and clothes will reduce the circulation to your lower legs and feet which leads for them to become swollen. The only exception to this is if you are going to be wearing compression stockings as you may have been recommended to do so by your Podiatrist or Doctor.
If you have any questions or concerns before you take a long-haul flight
Please feel free to contact the clinic and one of our experienced Podiatrists will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Follow these tips to start your holiday on the right foot. From the team at Sole-Lution Podiatry, thanks for reading and safe travels!