Flying/Swollen Ankles/Compression socks/etc

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knottyknicky

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Hey ladies (and gents)...I'm getting ready to fly to Europe for the holidays, and I'm a little nervous, since I've never flown so far. Mostly about water retention and preventing any kind of blood clots. I'm flying with one seat (which will be cramped) and haven't been able to make my seat request yet, so I'm hoping for an aisle. I talked to my doctor about it, and he gave me an Rx for a diuretic since I swell so bad when I fly, along with some xanax (I hate flying) and instructions to use compression socks. I've been looking around today online and it seems like they're all REALLY expensive. Does anyone know anything about these? I need to find some that fit too, as I've got pretty big calves (21 inches). I haven't been down to the drug store or anything, but I'm guessing they won't have socks that would fit me. I'm stressing over this because now I'm trying to figure out what to wear so I don't look like a total granny on the flight (and when I see my husband at the other end of my trip). I've never flown this far before so I'm trying to be as prepared as possible, so I can be as comfortable as possible. I wish British Airways would allow me to make a seat assignment before the day before the flight but ah well. Anybody have any tips? I'm already planning on drinking oodles of water and limiting my salt, and wearing something comfy and loose. I guess I'm just stuck on those silly socks. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance :)
 

Miss Vickie

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Knicky, if you go to a medical supply place (not a pharmacy but a place that sells wheelchairs, splints, stuff like that) they should be able to properly fit you for the right size compression hose. It's really important that you get fitted as early after you get up as you can, because you retain water throughout the day and so if you go at the end of the day they won't be as effective. Also, if you can get the ones that go aaaallll the way up your thighs you'll be better off too.

My other advice is to move your legs, pumping you muscles like you're pointing your toe ahead of you, then at the ceiling, back and forth, so that you move those calf muscles while you're cramped in the seat. If you can get up every hour to stand -- and WALK -- that helps too.

You've already got it covered with drinking water and watching your salt. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.
 

SocialbFly

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Hey ladies (and gents)...I'm getting ready to fly to Europe for the holidays, and I'm a little nervous, since I've never flown so far. Mostly about water retention and preventing any kind of blood clots. I'm flying with one seat (which will be cramped) and haven't been able to make my seat request yet, so I'm hoping for an aisle. I talked to my doctor about it, and he gave me an Rx for a diuretic since I swell so bad when I fly, along with some xanax (I hate flying) and instructions to use compression socks. I've been looking around today online and it seems like they're all REALLY expensive. Does anyone know anything about these? I need to find some that fit too, as I've got pretty big calves (21 inches). I haven't been down to the drug store or anything, but I'm guessing they won't have socks that would fit me. I'm stressing over this because now I'm trying to figure out what to wear so I don't look like a total granny on the flight (and when I see my husband at the other end of my trip). I've never flown this far before so I'm trying to be as prepared as possible, so I can be as comfortable as possible. I wish British Airways would allow me to make a seat assignment before the day before the flight but ah well. Anybody have any tips? I'm already planning on drinking oodles of water and limiting my salt, and wearing something comfy and loose. I guess I'm just stuck on those silly socks. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance :)
ok, a couple of issues, first of all, i would tolerate the lil bit of swelling, rather than being dehydrated, if you are dehydrated (diuretics take the water out of your body) you are more likely to get a clot...also, if you can tolerate it, take an aspirin or two before flying (unless you have an allergy or cant tolerate them)...as Ms Vickie said, pump your legs around...if you get knee high compression stockings and they are tight at all at your knees, i wouldnt wear them til you get off the plane, the stockings tight at your knee would only cut the venous return and not be a good thing...i like the seat by the window, but you can do an aisle seat, just think about getting a seat close to the bathroom so you dont have to fight rows trying to get to the bathroom...ask to preboard so you can get to your seat without issues....i also wear bigger slip on and off shoes that i can take off...no carbonated drinks (too much salt) drink the water or the juice and no alcohol if you can stand it :) those are my suggestions...
 

knottyknicky

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Thank you both for your ideas. Looking at the cost of true compression stockings, I don't think their really in my budget. I've seen anywhere from 30 on to 60+ dollars for these things. I ended up just purchasing a cheaper pair of 'circulation' knee highs...I doubt they'll be as strong as the ones from the medi supply but I think they'll be fine. I'm young with no real circulation problems, i'm just a total hypochondriac whose convinced she's gonna die after a 10 hour flight. I'll definitely be taking a couple aspirin before my flight, it doesn't bother me at all, and I'll probably refrain from drinking. I think part of why I swell when I fly is that I'm short, and my legs are short...meaning they sorta dangle off the seat and the blood is probably cut off at the edge of the seat, and it might not be if I were taller and my feet went flat on the floor like they should. I'm bringing a bigger (but soft) bag with me on board that i'm planning on stuffing a pillow in, so I'm going to keep that underfoot so I can keep my legs up.

SocialBFly, why do you prefer the window seat? I usually do for domestic flights because I like to look out the window, but I thought an aisle would be best, encouraging me to get up and walk. If i'm three people in, against a wall, I doubt I'll get up as often to move around because I'd hate to wake people up every hour or two so I can stretch my legs. I've also got a huge water phobia and as much as I'd like to see the ground as we land, I think the whole seeing-water-under-the-plane part would TOTALLY freak me out. I'm going to be tuning that aspect of the flight out as much as I possibly can.

Also, someone mentioned boarding early. Is that really an option? I don't have any mobility issues and I'm not particularly large (I'm about a 22/24). What benefit would that give me, aside from just having extra time to board?
 

minerva

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Thank you both for your ideas. Looking at the cost of true compression stockings, I don't think their really in my budget. I've seen anywhere from 30 on to 60+ dollars for these things. I ended up just purchasing a cheaper pair of 'circulation' knee highs...I doubt they'll be as strong as the ones from the medi supply but I think they'll be fine. I'm young with no real circulation problems, i'm just a total hypochondriac whose convinced she's gonna die after a 10 hour flight. I'll definitely be taking a couple aspirin before my flight, it doesn't bother me at all, and I'll probably refrain from drinking. I think part of why I swell when I fly is that I'm short, and my legs are short...meaning they sorta dangle off the seat and the blood is probably cut off at the edge of the seat, and it might not be if I were taller and my feet went flat on the floor like they should. I'm bringing a bigger (but soft) bag with me on board that i'm planning on stuffing a pillow in, so I'm going to keep that underfoot so I can keep my legs up.

SocialBFly, why do you prefer the window seat? I usually do for domestic flights because I like to look out the window, but I thought an aisle would be best, encouraging me to get up and walk. If i'm three people in, against a wall, I doubt I'll get up as often to move around because I'd hate to wake people up every hour or two so I can stretch my legs. I've also got a huge water phobia and as much as I'd like to see the ground as we land, I think the whole seeing-water-under-the-plane part would TOTALLY freak me out. I'm going to be tuning that aspect of the flight out as much as I possibly can.

Also, someone mentioned boarding early. Is that really an option? I don't have any mobility issues and I'm not particularly large (I'm about a 22/24). What benefit would that give me, aside from just having extra time to board?

If you wear a size 22/24, I don't think that you will have any issues on an international flight. I just returned from Europe and live on the east coast. The flight out was 7 hours, and the flight back was 10 hours. I wear a size 28/30, and bought just one ticket. I did not need a seat belt extender, and was able to fit into my seat. It was tight, but I fit. I had a window seat going out, and an aisle seat coming back, and I definitely preferred the aisle seat. It was much easier to get up and walk when I started getting claustrophobic, and it was also much nicer when I was getting off the plane, as I was able to leap into the aisle and grab my stuff pronto, rather than waiting for my seatmate to move.

I, too, always wear large shoes that are easy to slip on and off when I fly - the last trip, I wore my Crocs (the big, ugly ones) and found that they were perfect for flying. I also hate storing anything under the seat in front of my - it's the only place to stretch my legs and slip my feet out of my shoes. If you don't have any circulation problems, I wouldn't worry. Remember, you can get up and walk easily in the plane, esp. if you have an aisle seat. I am definitely bigger than you, and I had no trouble walking up and down the aisles (though I could not "squeeze past" someone else, going the other way). I would recommend buying a bottle of water after you pass security and before you get on the plane. I find the dehydration worse than the water retention, and prefer to be able to drink water whenever I'd like.

The flight is long, but in the grand scheme of things - it's just ten hours. It's a long night's sleep. Trust me, I was nervous about this trip (I've done it before, when I was heavier, actually, but always had a travel companion I knew who was willing to lift the armrest and let me spread out a bit) but it went just fine.

I'm not sure how active you are, but if you don't exercise regularly, I suggest you start now. You'll walk alot in Europe, whereever you go, and will be much, much happier if you have been exercising regularly. Have a great trip!
 

MissStacie

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and I get what you are saying about swelling of the calves. I used to have it worse when I had a desk job, but now that I'm not working, its much better.

Movement will help you immensely on the trip, so just as the OP's have said, keep your legs moving, flex your ankles/toes and get up and walk the aisle....I'd skip the diuretic until you get to your destination because that will just have you up and down on your flight, and if you are like ME, I like to stay put and just get the flight over with.

I, too, prefer a window seat because you can lean in towards the window and you seem to have a little more upper body room. However, if you DO have to get up, you have to make 2 other people move, and that just sucks.

An aisle seat is really ideal, because you can stretch your legs into the aisle when people are not walking by and its easier for you to get up and stretch, if only to stand by your seat!

yeah, drink your water!!! It will ward off the leg cramps that you will likely get during the night when you finally get to sleep in a bed....dehydration is a bitch when traveling.

OH yeah, and if they pre-board people, ask gently if you can, and simply state that you want to get settled and you require a little more time and don't want to hold up the line. I ask and have NEVER been denied...

Have a good trip~ Where are you heading in Europe? I've recently gotten married and moved to Germany...its a wonderful time to visit~!

Stacie
 

knottyknicky

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Thanks for the last two replies ladies :) Its really good to hear from some other women of size who have travelled with little issue. I luckily have my own seatbelt extender, which is great, when it fits. I don't always need one but its nice to have for the times that I *do* need one. I'm wondering if my size can be grounds for allowing me to pre-select my seat for free on British Airways. They said on their website that people with mobility or other needs can book a seat earlier to ensure they have whatever they need closeby. I don't know though if extra weight counts as a need for an end seat. I know aisle seats are pretty coveted on some flights. I'm hoping that it will be a relatively light flight, leaving on a Sunday, but I doubt it.

MissStacie, I feel you on the cankles! I sit a lot (more than I ought to) and thinking back, I used to get swollen pretty frequently when I worked a desk job too. I just assumed it was my heels but I think its just sitting at a desk, period. Right now I'm using an uncomfy metal folding chair at my desk that kinda cuts my circulation off at the top of my thighs, and I notice I've been swelling a lot since I started using this chair.

I feel a lot better about my flight now :) I just get so freaked out about stuff that probably won't affect me. I think the way my doctor put it, I felt like I was for sure going to get a fatal blood clot if I did not wear compression stockings, walk every 15 minutes, and take my diuretic! He just had knee surgery so I think he was just full of advice about how to keep swelling down, and I mistook his 'enthusiasm' for serious concern.

So does anyone have any ideas on how to convince BA im worthy of pre-selecting a seat? :p
 

minerva

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If you are especially concerned, give your doctor's office a call and ask if they are willing to write you some sort of note stating that you need an aisle seat to allow you to get up and walk regularly on the flight as a precaution against DVT. With that in hand, call British Airways and ask. Or, just call, explain that your physician has expressed concern about the flight and recommended an aisle seat to ensure that you have easy access to get up and move regularly and ask about early seat assignment. If they require one, you could ask your doctor to write you a brief note.

Cheers!
 

Chef

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I swear by mild compression socks, and I wear a small. ;)
 

SocialbFly

I am keeping Tina!
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Thank you both for your ideas. Looking at the cost of true compression stockings, I don't think their really in my budget. I've seen anywhere from 30 on to 60+ dollars for these things. I ended up just purchasing a cheaper pair of 'circulation' knee highs...I doubt they'll be as strong as the ones from the medi supply but I think they'll be fine. I'm young with no real circulation problems, i'm just a total hypochondriac whose convinced she's gonna die after a 10 hour flight. I'll definitely be taking a couple aspirin before my flight, it doesn't bother me at all, and I'll probably refrain from drinking. I think part of why I swell when I fly is that I'm short, and my legs are short...meaning they sorta dangle off the seat and the blood is probably cut off at the edge of the seat, and it might not be if I were taller and my feet went flat on the floor like they should. I'm bringing a bigger (but soft) bag with me on board that i'm planning on stuffing a pillow in, so I'm going to keep that underfoot so I can keep my legs up.

SocialBFly, why do you prefer the window seat? I usually do for domestic flights because I like to look out the window, but I thought an aisle would be best, encouraging me to get up and walk. If i'm three people in, against a wall, I doubt I'll get up as often to move around because I'd hate to wake people up every hour or two so I can stretch my legs. I've also got a huge water phobia and as much as I'd like to see the ground as we land, I think the whole seeing-water-under-the-plane part would TOTALLY freak me out. I'm going to be tuning that aspect of the flight out as much as I possibly can.

Also, someone mentioned boarding early. Is that really an option? I don't have any mobility issues and I'm not particularly large (I'm about a 22/24). What benefit would that give me, aside from just having extra time to board?
sorry i didnt see this earlier...i lean in to the window, i am tall and besides being tall i am broad shouldered too...so it gives me extra room...i can see why you would want the aisle, to encourage you to get up...i think we all choose what works for us..and this sounds like it works well for you...hugs and good luck...ohhhh and i always preboard, and when they ask why, i tell them the honest truth...have you ever tried to get around a really big person?? it always works..and if that doesnt work, i whine about arthritis (which i have) but i have found honesty is the best policy..
 

knottyknicky

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Yay! So much easier than I thought. I didn't get a docs note, but called BA and just said my doctor had some concerns about clots, wants me to walk, can I get an aisle. There was no issue, I got to select my seat on all four legs of my trip. Cha-cha-cha! I feel a lot better now, phew.
 

minerva

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Yay! So much easier than I thought. I didn't get a docs note, but called BA and just said my doctor had some concerns about clots, wants me to walk, can I get an aisle. There was no issue, I got to select my seat on all four legs of my trip. Cha-cha-cha! I feel a lot better now, phew.
I'm very happy for you! The anxiety in those situations can be worse than the flight. You're going to France, right? Have a pain au chocolate for me.
 

knottyknicky

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I'm very happy for you! The anxiety in those situations can be worse than the flight. You're going to France, right? Have a pain au chocolate for me.
Oui! I shall :) Probably several...



...and some tartes too. I have a sneaking suspicion France is gonna bring out the fat girl in me.
 

knottyknicky

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Well I just wanted to check in and update. I'm here in Geneva and all is well. The flight was fine...I was able to select a seat early and picked a two-seat setup in the back of the plane so I had a little extra leg room and room to put my bags, which was fantastic. The flight was very comfortable (considering I flew economy) and I didn't even need an extender. The compression stockings I ordered online were total crap so I sent them back, popped a couple aspirins, and avoided salt as much as possible, and was fine. My ankles swelled a tiny bit, but nothing like they have before. I admit I didn't get up as often as I was supposed to, but I made sure to get up at least a few times and move around, and I spent some extra time in the bathroom galley stretching and moving and walking in place, and did lots of stretches in my seat too. The flight went by a lot faster than I thought it would, and Im not horribly jetlagged. A little fatigued but thats to be expected. Thanks everyone for your tips :) I think I just let my anxiety get the best of me sometimes and blow things out of proportion with worry.
 

RJI

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Glad it wasn't too bad for you. When i fly to see my family in Hawaii (11hrs) I just try and get up every hour or so and do a lap around the plane. After a few rounds others who were too afraid to get up start doing it also, so your not the only one.
 

minerva

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Thanks for the update. I'm glad everything went well, and hope you have a great time!
 

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