You’ve been planning your trip, you’re prepped and ready, but you’ve realized you have a long flight ahead of you and you might run into some issues with your feet. Airlines are making seats smaller and squishing more of us into planes, we’re bound to start feeling uncomfortable! One of the most common complaints on flights is cramped feet and swelling.
In our last travel post, “Your Vacation Footcare Guide,” we go into detail about our prep, pad, and pamper method specifically for keeping you going throughout all of your travels.
If you’re getting ready to travel and you have a longer flight planned for the journey, it’s normal to see some swelling and have some cramping. The longer your flight time, the more prepared you’ll want to be. The Mayo Clinic states that your feet swell due to many different reasons, including sitting in the same position for a long stretch of time and dehydration. Sitting without significant movement or the position of your legs while seated for long periods of time can cause blood to pool in your leg veins and feet. The fluid leaves your bloodstream and moves into the surrounding soft tissue. It’s also very common for plane travel to bring on dehydration causing issues with swelling and discomfort.
Below we talk about a few things that you can do to help your feet and legs during your flight.
10 Tips to Help Your Feet In-Flight
- Take the time to stretch and move around during your flight as much as you’re able to, every hour if possible. For some suggestions on moves that may be beneficial, check out this article on Foot Yoga, “A Yoga Sequence For Your Next Flight.”
- Try foot massage techniques - If you’re trying the foot massage techniques, make sure to be polite to your neighbor and wear socks! 😄
- Wear shoes that can be loosened, in addition to loose, comfortable clothing. A great suggestion is to wear shoes with mesh knit uppers that can stretch if you swell and keep you comfortable.
- Wear compression socks. While they can be worn by anyone traveling, if you are a diabetic or have peripheral arterial disease, ask your physician for what their best recommendation is. You’ll usually find the recommended compression is between 15-20 mmHg.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Drink plenty of fluids before and during the duration of your flight
- Avoid anything that can constrict the flow of blood in your legs. This includes crossing your legs or sleeping deeply in one position for a long time.
- Avoid bare feet, no matter how comfortable you may be. Plane etiquette is important! Unsure of why it’s not a great idea to go barefoot on the plane? Read The Points Guys’ article about barefoot travel etiquette.
- If you take your shoes off during your flight, make sure you have slippers with non-skid soles to protect them. A great option is Nufoot shoes. These are two be worn indoors, but come in a variety of different styles and patterns.
- Any excessive swelling and leg pain that persists should be addressed by a physician immediately. If you are experiencing any changes in your feet or legs, it’s important to visit a physician or podiatrist as soon as possible.
Last but certainly not least, enjoy your time traveling - let your feet guide the way!