Whether you are traveling for work or leisure, your comfort and safety are two of the most important factors to consider so that you can truly enjoy your trip. However, sitting in a car, train, or plane for hours on end does not always equate to a comfortable time. Additionally, if you have certain health conditions, long-distance traveling could put even more strain on your body. Fortunately, compression socks are one of the best solutions to help you feel your best while traveling.
So, what are the advantages of wearing compression flight socks? How can compression wear make driving or flying long distances more comfortable? Finally, where can you find high-quality compression socks for your next trip? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s examine why you and other travelers can benefit from wearing compression socks on long-distance flights:
Why Wear Compression Socks When Flying?
Have you ever felt numbness or the sensation of “pins and needles” in your feet and legs when sitting for an extended period of time? If so, you are definitely not alone. This can happen because staying seated reduces blood flow to the feet and legs by applying constant pressure to the thighs and buttocks. Additionally, remaining relatively still slows your heart rate, further reducing blood flow to the extremities.
Compression socks for travel allow you to sit for an extended period of time with greater comfort. They work by applying varying degrees of pressure to your feet, ankles, and calves, helping accelerate the flow of blood and lymphatic fluids. You can also get flight compression socks that go all the way up to the hips, applying pressure to the entire lower half of the body. Regardless of the size you choose, all compression socks can relieve pain, reduce numbness, lower swelling, improve circulation, and generally make it more comfortable to stay in a seated position for long periods of time (including flights).
Therefore, wearing compression socks on a long flight can be especially useful for people who suffer from leg and joint pain, inflammation, varicose veins, poor circulation, or numbness. However, you don’t have to have a diagnosed medical condition to benefit from compression socks on a plane. A light degree of pressure can prevent any of the aforementioned issues (numbness, prickling sensations, etc.) from happening to people of all ages and health conditions.
Additionally, it is not uncommon to get stiff in the muscles and joints when seated for hours on end. If you suffer from mobility issues that make it difficult to stand up and sit down, compression socks can make it easier to keep the blood flowing and support your lower joints. With compressions socks, you will have an easier time moving around without pain or discomfort when you need to board, disembark, or even just get up to use the bathroom.
How Long Can You Wear Compression Socks When Traveling?
There is no exact science to compression socks and how long you should wear them. It can vary from one person to another, depending on your age, any medical conditions you have, the recommendations of your doctor, and — perhaps most importantly — the degree of pressure applied by the socks. That said, you can generally wear compression socks for anywhere between 8 to 12 hours at a time.
But what happens on really long flights that last longer than 12 hours? In this case, it is best to talk to your doctor before your trip. While compression socks can increase blood flow and prevent numbness, they can actually have the opposite effect if they are too tight or if you wear them for too long. So, if you have a long flight coming up and you want or need to wear compression socks, consider opting for a pair with a lower degree of pressure. This way, you are far less likely to experience any adverse effects as the hours pass by.
This should not scare you away from wearing compression socks on flights, even if you have long flights or multiple connecting flights. It is always best to take precautions and talk to your doctor beforehand, especially if you suffer from health issues that limit mobility or circulation. However, if you are a generally healthy individual, you could even wear compression socks for an entire day (particularly if they are low pressure) without any adverse effects at all. So, if possible, try to test out your compression socks before you ever step foot on the plane to see how they feel after a few hours.
What mmHg Compression Socks Are Best For Flying?
The pressure applied by compression socks is measured in mmHg. The lower the number, the lower the amount of pressure, and the higher the number, the greater the amount of pressure. So what mmHg compression socks should you wear? See the categories below to find out:
- Light (8 to 15 mmHg) - This pressure level is best for long flights and people without health conditions. Light compression socks are often used by athletes to improve circulation and reduce the chance of injury. When flying, they are ideal for people who are relatively young and do not have any preexisting heart or circulation issues.
- Moderate (15 to 20 mmHg) - If you have a flight that is 12 hours or less, you can likely wear moderate compression socks without any problems. They are best if you have mild to moderate health conditions like varicose veins or even Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). In any case, this range of pressure is best reserved for people who cannot get noticeable results from light compression socks.
- Firm (20 to 30 mmHg) - Anything above 20 mmHg is generally reserved for medical purposes. Therefore, if you have a cardiovascular condition or a moderate to severe health condition, you may need to wear firm compression socks. However, always remember to consult your doctor and avoid wearing firm socks for more than 12 hours at a time.
- Extra Firm (30 to 40 mmHg) - Finally, extra firm compression socks apply the most pressure and help ease pain, numbness, and inflammation in people with more serious health conditions. You should definitely talk to your doctor before wearing them on a flight. Ideally, you should not wear extra firm socks on flights that last more than 8 hours.
In short, light and moderate products are usually the best compression socks for travel. However, if you have a medical condition, you may need something stronger. Just remember to plan ahead and talk with your doctor before long-distance air travel.
The Best Compression Sock Brands for Travel
Now that we have examined the best mmHg compression socks for travel, it is time to look at some of the best brands. Fortunately, there are many great brands that make high-quality compression socks to wear on a plane or in a car. So, if you are currently looking for some of the best travel socks on the market, be sure to check out any of the following brands:
We hope you found this guide on compression socks for travel both useful and informative! Are you currently in the market for compression socks or other compression wear? If so, be sure to reach out to Compression Health today!