This time of year it is inevitable that we all feel with we want to escape this polar vortex to a warm, sunny climate but whether we are flying on an airplane or travelling in a car, your legs tend to suffer. How?

Well, with long periods of sitting or inactivity the large calf muscle pump in our legs are not engaged, causing slower recirculation of blood from our limbs to our heart. Prolonged inactivity can result in an apparent swelling around the ankles or a clot may form.  If a clot were to form, this can cause significant pain in ones leg, swelling and redness. In severe cases, a clot from the leg can dislodge and travel to the lungs causing an embolism. A pulmonary embolism can result in difficulty breathing, sharp pain in the chest and if left untreated, even death.

Do not be alarmed!

There are a few things I recommend people practice if they are about to embark on long flight or road trip. Here are a few things to try:

  • Get moving, get up walk around. Try to engage those calf muscle pumps by balancing on your toes or simply doing heel raises on the spot (heel raises can also be done when you are seated). Aim to do this every hour for 15 mins.
  • Avoid smoking. If you don’t smoke, even better!
  • Try compression socks. Try a low grade compression factor of 15-18mmHg, if it is your first time wearing them. These sockscan be tricky to put on if you are wearing higher grade compression. They should be applied in the morning or when you start your day and removed at night or at the end of the day. Opt for knee high length socks.
  • Stay hydrated with H20, avoid excessive alcohol during a long period of inactivity.
  • If you have experienced a blood clot in the leg prior to a upcoming long trip, make sure you notify your doctor, there may be some medications you should be taking to avoid reoccurrence.

Have any questions about my blog? Feel free to contact us at Feet in Motion Foot Care & Orthotics

Safe Travels!