swollen ankles

Old Jun 20, 14, 7:50 am
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swollen ankles

Hello ladies, I'm a road warriorette, traveling transcontinentally (USA) every other week.

My ankles tend to swell when I fly, and the swelling persists for a couple of days. Now that it's not boot weather, it's a pretty unattractive look with a skirt suit.

I have some compression socks I found online, but the band at the top seems to cut into my leg at the back of my knee, and I'm worrying I'm causing more problems than I'm solving. They also only partially prevent the swelling, and even if they do, sometimes I get "rebound" swelling.

Are there other alternatives? Better socks? How do you deal with swollen feet/ankles on 5+ hour flights?
mamabear is offline  
Old Jun 20, 14, 6:12 pm
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Keep your feet up in flight as much as possible. If you don't have a foot rest, use your carry on. Also, stay hydrated
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Old Jun 20, 14, 6:16 pm
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Try a brand like Jobst. Running shoe stores may carry compression socks that might match your outfit.
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Old Jun 21, 14, 10:41 am
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Have you talked to your doctor about this? You may think it's normal to swell but it sounds like it is happening a lot. I would get it checked just to make sure there isn't an underlying issue.

I have a bad knee that will cause one leg to swell. I use the 20-30 mmHg compression socks. If you look on Amazon they have some that are sized better. I am short and bought some that are sized as "short" so don't cut into my popliteal area.
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Old Jun 22, 14, 5:15 pm
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Check out these tips:


I do lots of little foot exercises in my seat like moving the toes up and down repeatedly--and then side to side. Seems to help.
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Old Jun 23, 14, 2:35 am
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Recently my feet started to swell, by the second day they are back to normal. Even when I do some exercises, they still swell.

Wonder if men get swollen ankles.

Last edited by Yahillwe; Jun 24, 14 at 3:25 am
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Old Jun 23, 14, 2:38 am
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The only thing that keeps my feet from swelling is to prop them up.
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Old Jun 27, 14, 4:17 pm
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First, yes, talk to your doctor if this problem is new, lasting longer, or the swelling has changed in some way recently.

My feet and ankles have always swelled a bit in flight, and here's what I do to minimize the issue (summer):

For the flight, I wear comfortable shoes with a low heel, but not flats. My go-to are Manolo slip-ons with just the lowest (maybe 3/4 of an inch?) heel. They are comfortable, and just a little big on my feet, so that they can accommodate a bit of swelling.

After take-off, I slip off the shoes and put on a pair of slippers or socks (as provided by the airline, or, on shorter flights, I bring a pair of socks from home). I move my seat so that the footrest area (or area beneath my feet) is up and supports my feet and ankles. Even while eating, I keep my feet up.

First night in the hotel, lots of lotion on the feet and ankles after my shower, followed by pillows under the feet in bed.
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Old Jun 29, 14, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Yahillwe View Post
Recently my feet started to swell, by the second day they are back to normal. Even when I do some exercises, they still swell.

Wonder if men get swollen ankles.
Yes, we certainly do. Compression socks and low salt day prior to and of flight help; if in business or better, elevating the feet helps too (on a cruise ship, where foods can be overly salty, one's life jacket under the foot end of the mattress provides some useful elevation.)

The higher your salt levels, the more you will retain water; on aircraft it's positional. Ditto with prolonged inactivity, and in coach it's really difficult to be active when everyone's crammed in like sardines.

For women's compression stockings / socks, there are many alternatives these days:




Google designer or pretty etc. compression socks for more.
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Old Jun 30, 14, 6:04 am
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Ah... cankles. The bane of my existence. I get these even when I'm not flying sometimes (usually after a lot of walking on hard pavement, on really hot or humid days, and sometimes after flying). I always have to watch to make sure I'm not retaining fluid so I eat less salt, push the hydrating fluids (lots and lots of water), and sometimes will take a diuretic to help when needed.

Dr. Oz suggests rubbing Preparation H (or another anti-hemorrhoid cream) into them to help reduce the swelling somewhat and I've found this to be helpful when I have obvious swelling and need to do something quickly!
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Old Jun 30, 14, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by techgirl View Post
Dr. Oz suggests rubbing Preparation H (or another anti-hemorrhoid cream) into them to help reduce the swelling somewhat and I've found this to be helpful when I have obvious swelling and need to do something quickly!
Interesting... I would never think of that!
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Old Jul 6, 14, 4:33 pm
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The compression knee-highs don't work for me either. After an hour or so they are so tight below the knee I have to roll them down a bit. Jobst and some other brands have thigh high compression hose. I use these and they're wonderful for flying. Jobst also makes a sticky roll on that you can apply to your skin at the tops of the the hose. It's called "It Stays" and it really works well. I also wear a not too tight pair of bike shorts over them.

You really should use rubber dishwashing gloves when putting them on. They're also available in various strengths of compression. A medical supply store usually has stock sizes, but you can order custom fit ones (more expensive).

Also, since you're a road warriorette, you may want to ask you doctor to write a prescription for you for a pair of thigh-highs. Mine did... but of course the insurance paid nothing. I was able to deduct it from the medical expenses on my taxes, however.

Good luck
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Old Jul 7, 14, 9:59 am
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I remember a similar thread in the Travel Products (?) forum last year - many recommendations for brands of compression stockings to try and where you can buy them in France or Germany. My best friend lives in Scotland and travels quite a bit- she loves the compression tights (not sure what brand she uses) because they look like the regular black matte tights you might wear with a skirt in the winter.

Personally, I just use regular black knee length on flights but I don't have swelling issues to deal with so cannot help with that specific issue. Good luck!
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Old Jul 16, 14, 11:41 am
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You need to buy compression socks one size larger than you typically wear. I wear compression socks in size xlarge and they do not pinch at the top.

Also, you can get an inflatable travel foot rest like this one:


Good luck.
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Old Aug 4, 14, 5:10 pm
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I'm recovering from a tib fx in left ankle and a torn MCL same leg. Happened July 10th. In an aircast for 6-8 weeks then will be fitted for knee brace. Last time I tore ACL and had to wear brace for several months.

Main issue: European trip November...90 days and counting. I know I'll have the brace, but wondering I give need the compression socks? I'm going to ask the ortho doctor at appt next week. I don't want to cause injury. I have some swelling in ankle, from a previous small bone chip in a fall in 2012. Yes, I'm a klutz.

I work out in a gym and had to stop to heal. I can now only do upper body stuff, but at home now with hand weights. I am hoping to start PT soon. I am determined to go on my trip no matter what.

For me, I think it's best for to ask the doctor, since I'll be there anyway. Heck, it may even be covered by my insurance if medically necessary.
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