When you fly long-haul, changes to air pressure in the cabin, combined with long periods of inactivity and dehydration, can cause your feet to swell. Happily, you can mitigate the problem by following a few basic tips and disembark feeling healthy and good to go!
1. Keep moving
This is the most important tip of all, as it helps your muscles to pump blood and fluids around your body, and avoid pooling, which leads to swelling. Walk up and down, stand up and down, and keep visiting the bathroom!
2. Drink plenty of water
Low cabin air pressure and dehydration lead to feet swelling, as your blood thickens and circulation slows. This can be dangerous, leading to blood clots. Mitigate this by drinking plenty of water at regular intervals. Opt for small amounts regularly rather than too much occasionally. A bottle of filtered water is worth keeping close at hand; also avoid dehydrating alcohol and coffee.
3. Make good food choices
Salt is the enemy here; forget crisps and salty snacks during and before your flight, as salt will encourage your body to retain fluid. Eat fruits such as bananas for beneficial potassium.
4. Exercise your feet
During times when you are sitting down, rotate your ankles and point your toes from side to side and up and down, making rotational movements to keep those feet moving. Jig your legs and fidget!
5. Get an aisle seat
This is more comfortable and will allow you to stretch out periodically as well as stand up and sit down more freely. Take advantage of the benefits, and offer to take things out of the overhead storage for others!
6. Prop your feet up
If you can, elevate your feet to help encourage good circulation, whether that is on an empty chair or the foot bar in front of you. This helps to encourage blood and fluids to flow.
7. Keep your legs uncrossed
Crossing them reduces your circulation even further – this is also good practice even in everyday life. Crossed legs can also encourage varicose veins, so avoid as far as possible.
8. Invest in a pair of compression socks.
Avoid any regular constrictive socks. You can buy a useful range of travel compression socks online at Simply Feet; just make sure you get the right size for your needs and read the guidance carefully.
9. Wear the right footwear
Choose slip-on shoes which you can take on and off as you need. Make sure they are comfortable and not tightly fitting. Avoid heels and complex laces, and allow your feet ‘wiggle-room’.
10. Regularly massage your feet
By simply massaging your feet, you can help improve circulation and reduce swelling.