Medical Q&As

Swelling of the feet

I am shortly travelling to San Francisco via Paris (cheapest flight!). The leg from Paris to San Francisco is a 12-hour flight, same on the way home. My feet and ankles always swell on a medium length flight (typical 2 to 4 hours). Is there anything I can do to prevent this occurring during and after the long flights?

This is a very common problem. I would suggest that you walk about the cabin several times during the course of the flight. While in the seated position it is a good idea to exercise your toes inside your shoes. This will assist circulation in the legs and limit fluid accumulating in the feet and ankles. Donít take your shoes off during the flight as they help to contain the swelling and you might not succeed in getting them back on if you remove them. If there is no medical contraindication in your case it is reasonable to take a low dose aspirin before the flight. Avoid wearing anything constricting around your legs such as ďstay upsĒ or socks with tight elastic. I have heard that there are now special socks available that help to protect against swelling during air travel however, I donít know enough about them to give a positive endorsement of such products.