In recent years the topic of DVT risk during long distance air travel, as well as long hours of traveling by train, bus or car, has received ever increasing publicity.
The discussion about deep vein thrombosis in the news tends to spike especially when a famous celebrity figure develops a DVT resulting from long distance air travel or other circumstances (e.g. superstar tennis player Serena Williams not too long ago).
One might think that by now most individuals and especially frequent travelers should be aware of the potential health hazards associated with journeying on an airplane in cramped quarters for many hours. The incidence of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during travel by plane is commonly termed “Economy Class Syndrome” even though it is by no means a risk factor that is reserved to economy class passengers.
Surprising as it may be, in spite of the flood of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis, there is still an indisputable need to keep spreading the word about the potential dangers of DVT among travelers. Investigations and studies have shown conclusively that after only a few hours of sitting immobile the risk of deep vein thrombosis (formation of a blood clot in the deeper veins) can become a very real threat. In most cases tourists are still be quite oblivious to this fact while on their way to or coming back from treasured vacation destinations and the same is true for travelling executives just doing business as usual.
It is difficult if not impossible to determine the real number of people who suffer a DVT as a result of traveling on long distance flights because frequently the condition may be without any symptoms or may not even occur until some time after the trip.
Can Flight or Travel Socks actually Prevent DVT?
The discussion about the subject of deep vein thrombosis risk among airline passengers has peaked the public’s interest to explore if the manufacturer claims that compression stockings may be able to reduce or even prevent the risk of blood clots in the deeper veins for air travelers are true.
Over the years a number of studies have been conducted with thousands of airline passengers including individuals of various ages and risk factors. This research confirmed that those people wearing compression stockings or flight socks on longer flights (for seven hours or more) showed a very significant reduction in DVT symptoms compared to those not wearing travel socks.
These special socks, known as flight socks or travel socks, are basically compression socks with built in graduated compression designed to boost blood circulation in the legs back to the heart to prevent pooling of blood in the legs. The formation of a blood clot in the legs can be particularly dangerous or even deadly if it should break lose and travel up to the heart and finally become lodged in the lungs.
In addition to lowering the risk of getting a blot clot flight socks can also vastly increase one’s comfort level during extended hours of travel by plane, train, bus or automobile. Travel socks can prevent swelling, aching, cramping or other pain and discomfort in the legs by applying gentle pressure to the legs and supporting the calf muscle pump action for improved circulation.
For maximum benefit travelers may want to wear flight socks for the entire duration of their travels. They are intended to be worn in place of regular socks and hosiery.
When wearing compression stockings one must make sure that there are no wrinkles or twisting of the material. They should not be folded over or rolled down to prevent any type of tourniquet effect that could interfere with proper circulation. For individuals with existing venous problems such as varicose veins in the upper part of the legs thigh high compression stockings may be a more suitable option.
Travel or flight socks are highly recommended by the medical community for people with a high or moderate risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (e.g. individuals with a history of a DVT or pulmonary embolism or pregnant women).
Usually flight socks or travel socks are available with a standard pressure classification of 14-17 mmHg, measured at the ankle.
For additional information and tips on the subject of Economy Class Syndrome or Coach Class Syndrome please follow the links below to some of our other posts…
Economy Class Syndrome” or Blood Clots from DVT can strike even when you are not Flying – Tips on How You Can Protect Yourself Against a Potentially Life Threatening Blood Clot
The Effects of “Economy Class Syndrome” or “Coach Class Syndrome” can be lethal – How can Compression Stockings help?
Last not Least a Word of Caution: Before you try any travel socks, flight socks or compression stockings make an appointment with your physician to discuss things first and to get his recommendations on what would be best for you and to make sure you have no underlying conditions that would prevent you from doing so.
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Jenifer S. says
Thanks for a great article. Recently I searched for travel socks usability and found your post. It helped me to make a decision to use some socks for travel. Usually during my weekly travel to my country I got some swelling in the legs. And, I found a competitively priced online socks shop. I am grateful to both of you and legstherapy.
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