Q. How can I prevent my feet from swelling after a long flight?
A. The combination of low cabin pressure and cramped seating can cause your feet to swell, and may even put you at risk for blood clots. So what can you do? Use these tips to flight-proof your feet:
1) Compression socks literally limit swelling, which keeps blood circulating at a steady rate. The good news? Though early versions of these stockings were less than stylish, there are now plenty of cute options! We’re partial to Sockwell’s polka-dotted pairs.
2) Movement also promotes circulation, so circling your ankles and point-and-flexing your feet in your seat is a good idea.
3) Whatever you do, avoid crossing your legs! This weight of your legs against each other constricts blood flow. (This is why your feet sometimes fall asleep when you keep the same leg crossed over the other for too long.)
4) Be sure to stand and walk up and down the aisle every hour or so, which will keep the blood moving.
5) Even though it might sound counter-intuitive, drink plenty of water! The more H2O you drink, the less you’ll retain.
6) You’ll also want to avoid salty food the day before travel—if possible, cook your own meals. (Restaurant dishes—even the ‘healthy’ ones are notoriously sodium-laden!)
7) Applying an ice pack may help, but keep checkpoints in mind. If you think you can procure ice somewhere inside the terminal, packing an empty Ziploc in your carry-on can’t hurt.