What is DVT?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot is formed in a deep vain and restricts blood flow. This usually happens in the legs, restricting blood flow to the feet. The risk for DVT is usually increased if you will be sitting for longer than 3 hours, and there are additional risk factors associated with the condition. These risk factors include:
- History of stroke
- History of DVT or pulmonary embolism
- Heart disease
- Inherited tendency to get blood clots
- Pregnancy and postpartum up to 6 weeks
- Recent history of surgery in the pelvic region, legs, or stomach
- Currently taking the combined contraceptive pill or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Fortunately, DVT rarely occurs in healthy people, and is highly preventable even if you may have several risk factors.
Traveling with DVT
One of the best steps you can take while traveling is to wear flight or compression socks. Compression socks usually come up to your knee or thigh, and provide a slight pressure on your legs to help promote blood flow.
Compression socks come in several strengths or classes to provide various levels of pressure. In order for these socks to be effective, it is important that you select the appropriate size and type for your particular needs. In general, Class I stockings provide the least amount of compression and typically provide sufficient protection against DVT.
If you are unsure which size or type of stockings are best to suit your needs, contact us and we can help assist you. You can purchase these socks at most drug stores and airports.
There are additional steps you can take to best protect your feet while traveling, including wearing loose, comfortable clothing. The clothes you choose to wear during travels can help make you feel relaxed and at ease versus clothing that may be uncomfortable or restrict the freedom of movement.
We recommend standing up and walking when possible, and doing calf stretches every 30 minutes. You can do this by raising your heels with your toes on the ground ten times, and then raising your toes with your heels on the ground 10 times.
Remember to stay hydrated and avoid drinking alcohol or consuming sleeping pills while you travel.
If you have recently had a DVT and are needing to travel, contact us prior to making your travel arrangements so that we can make sure it is safe. If you are still taking medication for your DVT, you should be protected from another occurrence, but it is always best to be cleared by your doctor before traveling.
For more information about DVT and how you can best protect yourself when traveling, contact Ankle & Foot Centers of Mid-America.