Traveling can be an exciting and enjoyable experience, but it can also be physically challenging, especially for your feet and ankles. Sitting for prolonged periods, changes in air pressure, and lack of movement can all cause fluid buildup and swelling in your feet and ankles, which can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Tips to Prevent Swollen Feet and Ankles When Traveling
Swollen feet or ankles are a common problem for travelers, especially for those who are taking long flights or road trips. The following nine tips can help you avoid the discomfort and pain of swollen feet or ankles while you travel:
- Wear comfortable shoes. Comfortable and well-fitting shoes are a must when traveling. You want to wear shoes that provide support and prevent excess pressure on your feet and ankles. Avoid tight or high-heeled shoes that can restrict circulation and increase swelling. Shoes with a wide toe box, arch support, and a cushioned sole, such as sneakers, are a great option for traveling.
- Keep hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is important when traveling, as dehydration can contribute to swelling in the feet and ankles. Water can help flush out excess salt and toxins that can cause fluid retention. You also want to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
- Take a break and move around. If you sit for prolonged periods, it can cause fluid to build up in your lower extremities. Take breaks, and try to move around every hour or so, even if it's just to stretch your legs or walk up and down the plane aisle. If you're traveling by car, make frequent stops to get out and walk around and stretch your legs.
- Elevate your feet. Elevating your feet above your heart can help to reduce swelling. If you are sitting on a plane, try to prop your feet on your carry-on luggage or a pillow. If you are sitting in a car, try to elevate your feet by using a footrest.
- Wear compression socks. Compression socks are designed to improve circulation and prevent swelling by applying pressure to your lower legs and feet. This can help push fluid back up toward your heart. Try to wear compression socks during your flight or car ride and for a few hours after you arrive at your destination for the best results.
- Avoid salty foods. Sodium can contribute to fluid retention and swelling. Try to avoid salty snacks and meals before and during your travel.
- Massage your feet. Massaging your feet and ankles can help to improve circulation and reduce swelling. When massaging your feet and ankles, focus on the tight or sore areas.
- Stay active. Getting in regular exercise can help to improve circulation and prevent swelling. Before your trip, establish a daily exercise routine, such as walking or jogging. While traveling, look for opportunities to stay active, such as hiking or practicing yoga.
- Apply ice. If you have swelling in your feet and ankles, apply ice packs or cold compresses to reduce the swelling. You can use ice for 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If swelling persists or gets worse while traveling or you have the following symptoms, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention:
- Severe pain or tenderness
- Swelling that is worse in one foot more than the other
- Redness or warmth
- Difficulty breathing
Swollen feet or ankles can indicate a more serious condition, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a blood clot, which requires immediate medical attention. If you are at risk for blood clots or have a condition such as diabetes that can increase your risk of swelling or blood clots, it is essential to talk to a doctor to ensure you are cleared for travel. Your podiatrist can help develop a plan that can help keep your feet healthy while traveling.
Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists Go the Distance for You
When you have a foot or an ankle problem, you want a team of specialists who will give you clear answers about your condition, treat you with state-of-the-art equipment, and provide you with a treatment plan that directly addresses your specific issue. Our podiatrists understand the importance of healthy feet, and with their education and training, they provide you with the best options for a speedy recovery.
The award-winning podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are recognized across the country for their depth of knowledge, treatment options, and outstanding service. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact us at 512-328-8900, or take advantage of our online appointment scheduling.