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How to Prevent Bloated Ankles When Flying

Seeing family during the holidays are the best, but flying might not be the most pleasant especially if you tend to get swollen or bloated ankles/feet. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your ankles from blowing up on long flights.

  1. Drink Water – It may sound counter intuitive to drink water when your ankles are swelling up, but it will help prevent dehydration. Drink water the day before your flight as well to prepare your body for the travel conditions.
  2. Walk Around – Most people like to sleep through their plane ride until they land, but staying still for a long period is the worst for swollen ankles. You should walk around frequently even if it’s just to go back and forth on the aisle. Swelling could be due to blood pooling in your ankles, so it’s important to stay as active as possible.
  3. Don’t Eat Salt – Don’t eat a lot of high sodium foods before and during the flight. Salt makes you retain more water which will make you bloated and uncomfortable.
  4. Free Up Space – Put your carry on baggage above your head and try to leave the space below for your feet. That way you can stretch your legs out a little more. If your bag is small, you can use it to prop your feet up and keep your feet slightly elevated.
  5. Don’t Cross Your Legs – Crossing your legs cuts off blood flow. Try to keep your legs straight and out forward to maximize the space you have in your seat.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been educating and treating patients for over eighteen years. If you have any questions call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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