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How to Prevent Swollen Feet When Flying

Have you got a well-deserved winter getaway coming up? Are you boarding a plane to visit faraway family for the holidays? Well, the last thing you want to worry about when you’re flying is dealing with swollen, aching feet. And yet, feet do have a tendency to swell on airplanes.

So, as you head out to Washington National or another D.C.-area airport, follow these tips from Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, Virginia. They’ll help you arrive at your destination ready for pain-free visiting and touring.

Wear comfortable shoes – supportive shoes that fit well make it so much easier when you’re standing around at the ticket counter or racing across the terminal to make your connecting flight. In addition, you want to give your feet a little bit of room to accommodate swelling when you’re on a long flight. Avoid tight or narrow-toed shoes.

Move around as much as possible – this may be easier said than done since many airlines have been shrinking their seat size. Try to arrange for a seat on the aisle. That’ll make it much easier for you to get up and take a short walk.

Stretch your lower limbs – even while seated, you can intentionally rotate your ankles and flex the muscles in your calves. This is another reason to get a seat on the aisle – it gives you more stretching room.

Uncross your legs and shift your position in your seat to encourage good blood flow.

Mind your clothing – make sure it’s loose-fitting. Constrictive clothing makes it harder to move around. It can also restrict blood flow. Don’t overlook the importance of the right socks. Socks that bind anywhere around your calves or ankles can cut off the flow of blood to your feet, exacerbating swelling.

Consider wearing compression socks – this is an especially important tip for anyone who’s diabetic or who’s had issues with blood clots in the past.

Stay well-hydrated – drinking lots of water (and avoiding alcohol) will reduce any potential swelling.

Treat your feet right during your flight! For more tips, info on common reasons for foot and ankle pain, and other general info on keeping your feet healthy, visit our website. We also invite you to call us at (703) 996-3000 whenever you have questions about foot pain. You can also make an appointment online with Dr. Wilhelm, our board-certified foot specialist.

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