Traveling by plane, train, car, or bus often involves sitting for long periods of time. For many people, this can increase your risk of problems such as swelling, discomfort, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Compression socks are a safe, effective way to reduce your risk of developing these conditions. Here at Vascular Vein Centers, we offer a range of compression socks and devices at our centers across Florida to help support healthy veins whenever you’re traveling.
Vein risks when traveling
Normally, your veins efficiently circulate blood back from your limbs back to your heart to be reoxygenated. In your legs, this process is supported by your calf muscles, especially as you walk and move.
However, sitting or standing for long periods of time can make it especially hard for your legs to return the blood to your heart. For many people, this can lead to swelling, discomfort, and leg fatigue.
According to the CDC, anyone traveling for more than four hours is at risk for blood clots. Sometimes, these blood clots can form in your deep veins, leading to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or even create a blockage in your lung leading to a pulmonary embolism.
You may also be at increased risk if you are:
- Over 40
- Overweight or obese
- Pregnant or recently pregnant
- Using estrogen-based birth control
- Taking hormone replacement therapy
- Diagnosed with vein disease or have a family history of blood clots
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can reduce your risks and travel safely. If possible, take a break every hour to stand, stretch, or walk when traveling for more than four hours at a time. Drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol or sleeping pills. Even if you can’t walk around, try small calf exercises such as raising your heels while keeping your toes on the floor.
What are compression socks?
One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your risk of blood clots when traveling is by using compression garments. As you can tell from the name, compression garments work by gently compressing your legs to promote blood flow back from your legs to your heart.
They can come in various lengths, from knee socks to full-length stockings. Depending on various health factors, you may be prescribed compression socks and devices. We offer medical-grade graduated compression stockings, which have maximum pressure at the ankle and decrease in pressure higher up. We also offer Velcro® compression wraps, which are helpful if you have skin problems or ulcers as they are easier to wear and remove than a stocking.
Why should I wear compression socks when traveling?
It’s a good idea to wear compression socks when traveling if you’re at increased risk of DVT or just want to avoid fatigue and leg discomfort. If you’ve been prescribed graduated compression socks or anti-embolism stockings, it’s important to wear them regularly as discussed with your provider at Vascular Vein Centers.
If you are using non-medical support hosiery, we still recommend speaking to our team to ensure you have the right product and fit. Non-medical support hosiery is usually more flexible with less pressure than prescription products, but they can still support healthy circulation and prevent tired, achy legs. No matter what type of garment you choose, it’s best to wear it an hour or two before you begin your trip and wear them for the duration of the trip.
Whether you’re at increased risk of clots or just want to prevent discomfort, compression socks should be an essential part of your travel routine. Speak to our team at Vascular Vein Centers by booking an appointment at your nearest location, so we can help you find the right compression devices for you.