Long car rides, cross-country train trips, international flights – just about every form of modern travel involves sitting for extended periods of time. While it certainly beats the alternative, the impact on your health can be detrimental. Any avid traveler is likely familiar with the leg pain and swelling that accompanies lengthy journeys, but the effect goes beyond just your legs.
The Risks of Too Much Sitting
Prolonged sitting – especially in the same position – can slow your blood circulation. Gravity causes blood to flow to your feet rather than back up toward your heart and fatty acids build up in your blood vessels. This can result in blood clots in your veins, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis that can be life-threatening since the clots can travel from the legs to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
In less severe cases, long-distance travelers still face swollen limbs, spider and varicose veins, fatigue, and dizziness upon standing – not a fun way to start your trip!
How Compression Socks Fight Back
Compression socks were initially created as a medical garment to address leg pain, swelling, and poor circulation. As the name suggests, the fabric provides gentle pressure to the legs and ankles. It’s this pressure that helps arteries relax and blood flow more freely. This in turn promotes proper circulation back up to the heart, reducing painful swelling. That’s why compression socks are often knee-high in length – to help as much of the leg as possible through graduated compression that fights the effects of gravity. All this extra circulation prevents achy and tired legs at the end of a long trip, but also minimizes the chances of dangerous blood clots.
Compression is measured in units called mmHg (millimeters of mercury). There are varying degrees of compression ranging from low to medical grade compression. Feetures Knee High Compression socks are fully graduated, meaning they start out with a greater amount of compression at the ankle and gradually get looser up the calf. This strategic knits help promote blood flow and circulation, making it a great option for travelers.
While medical experts have endorsed the use of compression socks for traveling, it’s important to do so properly. For starters, they’re not necessarily meant to be worn all day. In fact, wearing compression socks longer than recommended could actually worsen your symptoms and create other complications. It’s best to consult with your doctor before your trip so they can tailor their recommended usage time to your specific travel plans.
Your doctor can also suggest what strength of compression would best suit your needs and health concerns. For reference, here are the general measurement guidelines:
- Mild – 15-20 mmHg; used for mild leg pains, varicose and spider veins.
- Moderate – 20-30 mmHg; used for leg fatigue, advanced varicose veins, and moderate spider veins.
- Firm – 30-40 mmHg; used to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome, post sclerotherapy, and severe varicose veins.
Your New Travel Companion
Walking up and down the airplane aisle and stretching at rest stops are great ways to fight leg fatigue, but if you’re in need of extra support, we suggest packing a pair of compression socks for your next trip. Feetures’ specialized compression socks relieve painful symptoms so you can reach your destination in better health and with more energy.
If your summer plans have you logging miles in the air or on the road, take advantage of our lifetime guarantee and try a pair for yourself risk-free!