Compression Socks and Traveling: What are the Pros and Cons?

Compression Socks and Traveling: What are the Pros and Cons?

Compression socks and travelling aren’t always two words you commonly hear in the same sentence, but there are some major benefits to wearing these when you travel.

 Why compression socks and traveling are a good idea

What are compression socks?

Compression socks come in varying lengths and are specially made to be snug fitting and gently squeeze the legs. They are tighter around the ankle and get looser as they move up your leg. You can buy compression socks over the counter or online.

What are the health benefits?

The main purpose of compression socks is promote better blood circulation. This has may different benefits including:

  • Reduce Varicose veins

  • Reduce discomfort in the legs which can be caused by pooling of blood.

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatment and prevention

  • To treat leg ulcers

  • Help treat lymphoedema

  • Ease pregnancy symptoms, such as swollen feet and legs and aching muscles.


Compression socks and travelling

If you are on a long journey, particularly when flying, you are unlikely to move much during this time. Being stuck in a small space and sitting down can cause circulation in your legs to slow down. This means you might experience swelling, tingling or discomfort. There is also a more sinister symptom of this slowed circulation, as it gives you a higher risk of pulmonary embolisms and blood clots. This can be quite serious, so all precautions should be put in place to lower this risk. As they can improve blood circulation,compression socks for flying are highly recommended.

How to wear compression socks

Make sure you buy the correct size socks to what size your feet are. It is best to put the compression socks on right before you board your flight or start your journey, as it can be difficult doing so once you are in a confined space. Compression socks can be worn for long periods of time, however if you have them on all day, they could become uncomfortable or have some possible side effects.

Possible side effects

Compression socks do have some side effects that are worth mentioning, which is particularly why you shouldn’t wear them for longer than you need to.

These side effects include:

  • Itching

  • loss of circulation or feeling in your legs and feet

  • burning or chafing

  • bruises and broken skin


However, if you have purchased compression socks that fit correctly, you aren’t likely to get these symptoms.

If your skin is susceptible to bruises or scrapes, then you might need to give compression socks a miss. If they are causing discomfort whilst wearing them, take them off before there is any injury to your skin.


How else can you avoid blood clots and improve circulation while travelling?

There are a few other things you can do, other than wear compression socks, when travelling to help prevent blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. There are:

  • Staying hydrated. When you are dehydrated your blood is thicker and this slows down circulation

  • Try to not cross your legs for prolonged periods of time.

  • Walk around whenever possible. Get up out of your chair when you are able to or if you are in a land vehicle take breaks and get out and walk around.

  • Stretch in your seat

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