Swelling legs while traveling:
It is very common for people to experience edema, or swelling, while traveling. With the holidays’ right around the corner, it is time to start your traveling preparation from the ground–ankle–up. So whether you are planning on flying or driving to Grandma’s house this year we have some tips on how you can reduce your ankle swelling so it does not ruin the fun of holiday travel.
First things first you may be wondering, “Why does traveling make my ankles swell?”
Edema is the result of fluid buildup and can develop in any part of your body, but because of the effects of gravity, the fluid usually shows up in your lower extremities. This can happen to anyone but is more likely to affect the elderly or obese while sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Other causes of edema are:
Venous insufficiency. This happens when the veins in your legs have become weakened and can’t return blood to your heart fast enough. *Varicose and Spider veins are signs of venous insufficiency.
- Congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart is not pumping well enough to keep blood moving through your system.
- Other diseases. Diseases of the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid can all cause a buildup of fluid that leads to edema.
- Medications. Some types of antidepressant medications and blood pressure medications can cause edema.
Tips to help prevent ankle swelling:
- Avoid standing or sitting for too long. If you’re in a car, take frequent stops so you can walk around to increase the blood flow.
- If you are stuck sitting on a plane, wear compression stockings. You can find generic compression stockings at your local drug store or you can stop by St Johns Vein Center to get a personalized fitting.
- Elevate your legs as much as possible. When lying down, put pillows under your legs to elevate them above your heart.
- Avoid salty food and drink plenty of water.
- If edema persists after traveling, see your primary care doctor for recommendations.
Next time you travel, try some of these suggestions to prevent leg swelling and unwanted pain.