If you have ever traveled on a long flight, chances are you are familiar with the resulting foot and leg swelling. According to MayoClinic.com, this swelling is most likely caused by blood and fluid pooling in your lower extremities due to long periods of inactivity. While the condition is usually harmless, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly. If you are preparing for a long flight, there are steps you can take to prevent swelling.
Reserve an aisle or exit row seat to allow yourself extra leg room. Wear loose-fitting clothing on the flight, and do not wear tight clothing around your legs and thighs such as girdles or stockings with tight elastic bands. Wear support stockings for additional prevention.
Stand up every half hour as permitted. Stretch your legs and take a short walk up and down the aisles of the plane. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which are dehydrating.
Change your seating position as much as possible and avoid crossing your legs. Flex and extend your legs to stretch your ankles and knees.
Massage your feet, ankles, legs and knees to help the blood flow. Exercise your feet by alternating between bending them upward, spreading the toes and holding for three seconds, and pointing them down, clenching the toes and holding this position for three seconds.
Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.