If you love to travel, you know that planning is only half the fun, and it's important to travel safely, comfortably, and hassle-free. So you can get travel insurance, necessary vaccinations, buy essentials and pack your shoes. While you're at it, consider buying a pair of compression stockings -- another way to reduce potential travel-related problems.
Compression stockings are most often worn by people who have circulation problems and therefore carry a risk of conditions such as blood clots in the legs (also known as deep vein thrombosis - DVT). Symptoms of DVT include swelling or pain in the lower leg or thigh, redness, fever, and skin discoloration, although sometimes there are no obvious or noticeable symptoms. If left untreated, the blood clot can rupture, enter the lungs and cause death.
One of the main risk factors for DVT is prolonged periods of inactivity—such as prolonged airplane flights. Compression stockings or stockings fit snugly, especially at the ankles, and gentle pressure encourages blood flow to the deep veins, preventing blood from pooling and clotting, reducing the risk of DVT.
Yes, you should wear compression socks when you travel. These are the most stylish and comfortable pair.
If you've ever struggled with swollen feet on a long flight or car ride—or worse, deep vein thrombosis (DVT)—you know you must wear compression stockings when traveling.
DVT can occur when a blood clot forms in one or more of your body's deep veins, usually in your legs, after prolonged sitting still, such as on a plane or in a car. If one of the blood clots ruptures and travels through the blood to the lungs, it can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.
Getting up and moving around during a flight or making frequent pit stops on a road trip is important, but wearing compression socks while traveling is good for everyone because they improve circulation and prevent swelling in the feet and legs.
As you get older, your doctor may recommend that you wear compression stockings after surgery or before flying. However, people of any age and fitness level can benefit when traveling.
Compression socks usually look like regular knee socks, but have varying levels of compression from the toes to just below the knee, gently squeezing your ankles and calves to keep blood flowing to your thighs.
Compression stockings help reduce the risk of DVT because they mimic the contractile function of the calf muscles, even when you're not walking. They're also good at preventing leg swelling in some people after a long plane trip.
Simply put, compression stockings apply external pressure to your lower legs, which, as the name suggests, compresses veins and keeps blood flowing.
When should compression socks be worn?
Longer flights, especially those lasting four hours or more, increase the risk of blood clots. For people at increased risk of DVT, it is recommended to discuss compression stockings and other individual-specific precautions with your primary care physician.
The risk of blood clots during air travel was generally low, but increased with time spent in the air. Therefore, he also supports the recommendation to wear compression stockings when flying for more than four or five hours - especially if you have had swelling or blood clots in your legs in the past or have a family history of blood clotting.
What should you look for in compression stockings?
You first look for the compression level or mmHg they offer. The higher the number, the more stress on your leg. If you're wearing them too tightly, they can be difficult to put on and put on, and they can get pinched after a few hours of wearing, resulting in the dreaded "ham sausage" feeling.
Mild compression (8-15mmHg and 15-20mmHg) will provide light pressure on your legs, ideal for long journeys. Higher levels of compression, such as 20-30 mmHg to 30-40 mmHg, are usually the levels prescribed by doctors. (If your doctor prescribes it, make sure to get his or her recommended level of compression.)
After the compression level, you should also look for the material of the socks (cotton and bamboo tend to be softer than cheaper nylon versions) and fun colors if you don't want to look boring medical socks. Here are some of our favorite compression socks that surpass other brands in sheer comfort and style.
Are they worth buying or are they better spent on trendy new travel pillows?
What research tells us
Research evidence suggests that wearing compression stockings or stockings on flights of more than 5 hours can help reduce DVT in people without symptoms. Compression stockings and stockings can also help reduce leg swelling, discomfort, and blood clots that form near the surface of the skin. Research also shows that compression stockings are generally safe to use and there is little risk of injury from wearing them.
However, they're not cheap (ranging from $10 to $100, depending on the type), so whether they're a good investment for you depends on your DVT preferences and risk factors. Other risk factors for DVT include old age, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, or having cancer or one of several chronic diseases. It never hurts to seek advice from a doctor, especially since some people shouldn't wear compression stockings, such as those with nerve damage commonly seen in people with diabetes.
Other tips to prevent circulation problems on the way include standing and walking regularly, drinking water, and doing leg stretches. As for the pillow - it probably won't do anything to prevent DVT, but it may help you be more comfortable during the flight. Have a great trip!