Tips for your feet and legs when travelling abroad

It’s June, which means that Summer has (finally) arrived! If you’re looking forward to a well-deserved, relaxing trip abroad this year but feel less excited about the uncomfortable, long haul flight, we have some tips on ways to make the journey a little easier on your feet.

Lengthy flights, with the combination of limited space, heightened air pressure and being immobile for long periods of time, can affect circulation in your feet and cause swelling. Read on for our advice to maximise your comfort both in flight and after your journey.

Wear comfortable slip-on shoes

By wearing a pair of lightweight, breathable, slip-on shoes, you can get in and out of your footwear with minimal effort. Comfortable, good fitting shoes mean that whether you have your shoes on or off, your feet can feel good.

Compression socks are key

Wearing compression socks will help to reduce swelling. Avoid normal socks that constrict above the ankle.

Keep walking

Get up several times during the flight (when safe to do so) especially on flights more than two hours; even if it’s just to pace up and down the aisles, to get your blood flowing. Try doing this several times each hour to prevent swelling in the feet and legs.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of the trip so that you don’t begin your trip dehydrated. Bring a big bottle of water with you on the plane, and refill it as needed to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol, sugary or caffeinated drinks as they have dehydrating effects.

Strategic storage

Leg room can be limited on some airlines or economy class so keeping your hand luggage in the overhead bins provides so you have more space for your legs and prevent them from being cramped and restricted.

Massage your feet

A foot massage will help stimulate blood flow and prevent swelling. Aeroplane air-conditioning can be drying, so use a foot cream to also help keep your feet looking flip-flop ready.

Exercise your feet

Point your toes up and down and side to side to get your feet moving and twiddle your toes. Keeping your feet and ankles moving while sitting for long periods will encourage regular blood flow and prevent swelling. Try rotating your ankles one way, and then the other and also perform a heel-to-toe ‘seesaw.’

Don’t cross your legs

Your circulation is already slow when you are sitting for hours, so don’t cut it off even more by crossing your legs. Keep your feet firmly on the cabin floor. Alternatively, if possible, keep your feet elevated to stimulate circulation. If there’s no one next to you, stretch out and prop your feet up across the seats.

After the flight

Keep your feet up – this is also known as static recovery. While you are lying on your bed, watching television or reading a book, have your feet elevated above the level of your heart. This position will encourage the blood to flow away from your legs and feet and towards your heart. This will promote a fresh supply of blood around your legs, reducing any pain and swelling.

Happy and safe travels from Dulwich Podiatry Ltd!

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