The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How To Keep Your Feet Happy While Flying

Posted by on Monday, June 3rd, 2013


Feet are one of the many areas of the body that can feel extremely uncomfortable during a flight. Socks can feel sweaty and constricted. On top of that, most passengers suffer some degree of swelling as a result of the stale cabin air and having their legs in a cramped, crouched position for extended periods of time. Here are a few tips to keep your feet healthy and happy the next time you fly.

Fly First-Class.

Forget cramped, sweaty feet for long overseas flights. Buy a first class ticket, stretch out and enjoy a little bit of extra pampering. You’ll find it’s worth every penny. On some first class flights with Qantas going to New Zealand, you may treated to complimentary pajamas and slippers!

Dress Comfortably.

Skinny jeans may look cute, but they can also impede blood flow and cause your ankles to swell, warns MSNBC. Opt for a comfortable and soft closed-toe shoe that can easily slip off, which will help you get through airport check-in lines faster, as well as maximize in-flight comfort. Women should wear shoes no higher than 1.5 inches. Podiatrists recommend the new breed of “comfort pumps.” For men, quality Oxfords will allow the feet to breathe and rest easily without too much restriction.

Try Support Hose.

Many people, professional athletes included, choose to wear compression stockings support hose. This type of stocking may make your feet sweat, but it’s said to encourage blood flow from the veins at the skin’s surface to the core of the leg. Furthermore, it’s said to cut the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) by as much as 90%, according to the UK Guardian.


Get up and stretch your legs every 30 minutes or so if you can. This will keep the blood flowing in your legs and make you feel more comfortable. While seated, raise your foot and practice pointing and flexing. Even small exercises will promote better blood circulation. It may annoy people, but sneaking in a little bit of yoga on the plane never hurt anyone, says the Seattle Times. Avoid cramming luggage below your seat, which will cause your legs to be more cramped; and do not cross your legs, as this restricts circulation.

Watch What You Consume.

Salty foods like peanuts and alcoholic beverages should be avoided up to a day before the flight because they will cause you to retain fluid and swell up more when you travel. Avoid coffee, saturated fats, creams and sedatives as well. By contrast, you want to drink plenty of water and electrolytes. Good circulation-enhancing foods include: dark chocolate, blueberries, grapes, avocados, salmon, ginger, gingko biloba, pumpkin seeds and Vitamin E.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.