When you’re preparing for a long road trip or flight, you probably remember essentials like your ID, travel pillow and a good magazine, but what about your compression socks or graduated support hosiery? Find out if you are one of the many who could benefit from added support while traveling.
What type of travel?
Whenever you are confined for more than 8 to 10 hours and can’t get up and stretch very often, your circulation can suffer. This can result in clots or leg swelling. These long-trip circulation issues are sometimes called Economy Class Syndrome, due to the especially cramped quarters in coach. However, experts stress that it’s less about the amount of space and more about the amount of time that’s the issue.
Compression socks and graduated support hosiery can help give support to leg veins by squeezing the legs, which helps the vein and leg muscles move blood toward the heart, enhancing circulation.
What type of person?
Not every person on a long trip needs to wear support. The American College of Chest Physicians put out guidelines in 2012 that recommend it for those who:
• Take estrogen
• Are pregnant
• Have had recent trauma or surgery
• Have cancer
• Have had a previous vein problems, such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• Have problems with mobility, such as older or severely obese people
Those with any of these conditions should also walk around often, stretch calves while in their seats, and avoid sitting in the window seat of a plane, which makes getting up much harder.
What type of support?
Graduated support hosiery comes in different pressure strengths. General guidelines advise wearing a moderate level of support with 15 to 30 mm/Hg of pressure. However, which level of pressure you need can depend on your medical history and clot risk factors. If you already have a vascular disease, your doctor may recommend a firm level of support with 30 to 40 mm/Hg of pressure. If you’ve never worn graduated support hosiery before, FootSmart recommends starting with a light level of support with 8 to 15 mm Hg of pressure or a moderate level of support as described above.
The good news is you don’t have to settle for the frumpy support hose your grandma used to wear. There are many fashion-friendly options out there like thigh-highs in a range of colors and socks in cute colors and patterns.
Ready to Shop?
American College of Chest Physicians; “Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis”; 9th Edition ACCP Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Vascular Disease Foundation: “Focus on Compression Stockings”
CDC: Travelers’ Health – Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism ‘
Wall Street Journal Blogs: “How to Avoid a Deep Vein Thrombosis on Long Flights”