Traveling with Varicose Veins: 6 Tips to Avoid Leg Pain and Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

womens legs standing in an airport in high heels with luggage

Love the buzz of exploring new places and immersing yourself in exotic atmospheres? Unfortunately, that excitement can be dampened by the worry of varicose veins flaring up during your travels. Whether you’re confined to a seat on a long flight or wandering around a new city for hours, extended periods of sitting or standing can be tough on your legs.

 

Here are some tips for fending off varicose vein discomfort while traveling: 

1. Get Up and Walk

 

 During long-distance travel, make it a point to stretch your legs every hour—if you’re driving, take breaks at rest areas; if you’re flying, take occasional strolls to the bathroom and back. For an even smoother journey, choose an aisle seat when booking your transportation. This will allow you to stand, sit, and move around regularly without inconveniencing fellow travelers.

2. Hydrate

 

It’s common knowledge that water benefits your overall health but did you know that staying hydrated is also one of the best ways to reduce varicose vein discomfort on the go?

 

Here’s why ramping up your water intake is especially crucial while traveling:

  • Reduces Swelling: Having varicose veins can make swelling from dehydration more troublesome, as it puts extra pressure on your veins and heightens discomfort. Stay hydrated to reduce this. 
  • Prevents Blood Clots: Staying hydrated prevents your blood from becoming too thick and sticky, which can increase the risk of clotting. For those traveling far or sitting long, this further increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
  • Improves Circulation: Hydration promotes better blood flow, which can ease the workload on your veins and allow blood flow to occur more easily. 

3. Dress Comfortably

 

When traveling, ditch tight clothing that hinders blood circulation. Choose loose-fitting pants or dresses that let your legs breathe and encourage proper blood flow. It’s easy to blend comfort with style—think wide-leg pants, flowing maxi skirts, and breezy jumpsuits. These style options keep you looking sharp while ensuring your maximal vein comfort and keeping you cool if traveling in the summertime! 

4. Wear Compression Stockings

 

 While you’ll want to keep your clothing comfortably loose, make sure your socks fit snugly. Swelling can act up when sitting for extended periods (like on a long flight) so consider compression stockings to keep it under control. They’ll hug your legs to keep the blood and oxygen moving, ward up cramps, and decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis.  

5. Eat Healthy

 

It’s tempting to indulge in rich food and treats, especially while on vacation. But you won’t regret the choice to eat healthy when you find your legs pain-free and maintain the energy to explore and have fun. Opt for fiber-rich, vein-supportive foods that prevent constipation. Constipation can strain circulation and intensify discomfort from your varicose veins. Do some research ahead of time to find restaurants that suit your needs so you can still enjoy eating out. Pack vitamin C-rich snacks and healthy fats for your daily walks or beach time—oranges, berries, nuts, and seeds are good options. 

 

Other considerations for eating while traveling: 

  • Reduce salt intake to prevent your body from retaining water which can cause swelling and increase pressure on your veins
  • Avoid overeating as the extra pounds can add more pressure on your veins 
  • Steer clear of processed foods loaded with salt and sugar that will dehydrate you

6. Move Your Feet

 

 If you’re stuck in a seat for a long time (like on a flight or during a long car ride), shaking your feet and wiggling your toes and ankles can be very helpful to keep blood flowing and support circulation. Pull your toes back towards your body, hold for 10 seconds, then point your feet down for 10 seconds. Do this with each foot several times to keep your leg muscles engaged. Whenever you get a chance, prop your legs up to decrease swelling or discomfort. In the car, use an empty seat to prop up your legs. On a bus or train, consider using carry-on luggage or a footrest. 

 

Don’t Let Varicose Veins Keep You from Adventuring!

Implementing these tips and tricks should make your travel with varicose veins a breeze. Strategize by opting for wheeled luggage that takes the load off your shoulders and makes transportation easier. If you’re heading to a tropical destination, be mindful that heat can intensify varicose vein symptoms. Keep things cool by wearing light, breathable clothes and applying cool compresses to your varicose veins during moments of rest. And remember, cramming your days with too much to do is a recipe for weary legs. So make sure you carve out moments to unwind and elevate your legs, especially after a full day of traveling. If vein discomfort is particularly troubling for you this season, consult a vein specialist before traveling to explore whether treatment is a viable and beneficial option.

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our expert medical staff has years of experience treating people with venous conditions such as varicose veins, spider veins, and more. Our dedicated team specializes in providing attentive and personalized care, something larger clinics often overlook. We welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

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