Here’s a post for the traveling runner. A couple of years ago I noticed that my ankles and calves started to swell during long flights, so much so that the swelling would sometimes warrant a visit to the clinic and/or massage therapist a day or two after landing. Feeling a little nervous about these recent bouts of travel-induced swelling, I decided to search the internet for tips on how to prevent this from happening on future flights. The following brief article offered some great information and advice:
Runners could be more prone to leg blood clots on planes
“Runners’ bodies adapt to running by making their leg vascular system more efficient: larger veins and arteries. So if you sit for a long time and are scrunched in an airplane seat, the blood can pool in your larger leg veins, and clot. That—coupled with the edge of the seat’s pushing on the back of your knee, preventing or slowing venous return—could be all you need to set up a clot.”
This according to Dr. Lewis G. Maharam one of the world’s premier running physician. He is also medical director of the New York Road Runners, ING New York City Marathon.
So what can you do to prevent blood clots on long airplane flight?
Dr. Maharam has some advice:
On flights of three hours or more:
FYI: I ordered a pair of these stockings from Amazon, and within just a few hours of traveling from Naha to Narita, my legs had ballooned! I had to rush to the bathroom at Narita airport and pull them off. I then spent the next half hour or so walking around the terminal to get my blood re-circulating, and then a further half hour massaging my calves and lying on the floor with my feet up on a chair. Anna suggested that the stockings may have been a size too small, but I had purchased a size larger than usual, to err on the side of caution. Maybe they were still the wrong size, but I won’t be trying these again.