It’s that special season again, and many of us are preparing to visit family in another city, state, or country to celebrate. If you’ve been diagnosed with varicose or spider veins or are currently experiencing symptoms, take extra care to treat your legs with lots of love during long drives and flights to prevent causing further strain.
Here are 5 simple but very effective tips for safe, comfortable holiday travel:
1. Don’t forget to pack your compression stockings.
They may not be the kind Santa will fill with treats, but compression stockings can be the biggest little helper when it comes to managing vein health and symptoms. These medical-grade socks and stockings are designed to support blood flow in the legs by using graduated pressure from the ankle to the knee. Wearing compression socks during long bouts of travel reduces throbbing and swelling, so you can spend more time with your family and less time in pain.
2. Travel in comfort, not style.
Avoid wearing anything constricting or tight-fitting while traveling, as this can really exacerbate discomfort and leg pain. Instead, opt for comfortable, loose-fitting clothing like sweatpants, wind pants, basketball shorts, yoga pants, long skirts, or comfortable slacks.
3. Break up long periods of sitting with short walks and stretching.
Sitting still for extended periods of time, especially with the knee in the bent or legs-crossed position, further limits strained blood flow in the legs and can cause increased pain, swelling, and even risk for a deep vein clot.
If you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, get up from your seat when the ride is smooth and walk up and down the aisles. If you’re driving, make sure you stop every 1-2 hours to stretch and move around. Avoid crossing your legs.
4. Learn some simple sitting stretches.
Sometimes, turbulence or space constraints can make it hard to walk around. If you’re bound to your seat, you can support the blood flow in your legs by using simple sitting stretches. Stretch the calf by pumping your foot up and down as if you’re hitting a gas pedal 20-30 times. Flex your feet and then point your toes, 20-30 times. Rotate your ankle in small circles in one direction 10 times, then the other direction 10 times.
All of these stretches will improve blood flow and decrease your risk for worsening symptoms or clots. Use them in place of #3 or, even better, in addition to.
5. Drink plenty of water.
It’s always important to stay hydrated, but even more so during travel. Make sure to get plenty of pure, filtered water and other fluids to keep your blood flowing smoothly, and avoid those travel cocktails and other alcoholic beverages until you arrive at your destination—they could contribute to dehydration.
If you’d like to get your legs checked for vein health before you depart on your holiday travel, or if you’re ready to begin treatment for pain-free legs, give Bunker Vein and Imaging a call at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Happy holidays and safe travels from Bunker Vein!