Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Swelling Of The Feet During Travel

Swelling of the feet is common during air travel. While sitting on a plane for hours, blood tends to pool in the feet and legs. Sitting puts pressure on the veins of the legs which inhibits their ability to effectively get all the blood back to the heart. This causes more blood than usual to remain in those veins instead of swiftly returning to the heart. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause some fluid to leave the blood and enter the surrounding tissue.

While swelling is usually harmless, it can be a sign of a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis). Normal swelling should subside after several hours of regular activity. If the swelling does not go down after normal activity has resumed, medical attention should be sought immediately to rule out a deep vein thrombosis. If legs are painful or if swelling is only occurring in one leg, the person should go to the emergency room or call emergency services immediately as these are signs that the swelling is not normal and may indicate a deep vein thrombosis.

The best way to prevent swelling and reduce the risk for deep vein thrombosis is to get up and walk around the plane every hour. IF travelling by car, stop and take frequent breaks to stretch the legs and walk. Walking causes the veins to constrict which forces the blood back to the heart.

Elevating the legs and feet can help prevent swelling. If you are unable to elevate your legs, rotating your ankles while sitting my help prevent swelling. Stretching out the calves can help. Calf stretches should be done every half hour. Avoid wearing restrictive clothing when traveling. Water should be consumed, especially during flights or in warm weather. Dehydration can be a contributing factor to deep vein thrombosis. Thus, it is also beneficial to avoid alcohol consumption.


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