Traveling tips for those with varicose veins


Summer travel season is in full swing. The airports are overcrowded with domestic and international travelers. Countless road trips are planned. Destinations that include hours of walking or hiking are on the calendar.

Long hours of traveling, standing or walking can be especially challenging for those who suffer from varicose veins. Legs can become tired, swollen and painful. The development of Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT, a blood clot in the legs that travels to the lungs, is a concern because varicose vein sufferers are at an increased risk for this health condition. For these reasons, those who live with varicose veins should take the necessary steps and precautions to reduce potential problems.

Upgrade your seat

Most airlines don’t provide enough leg room to stretch out in flight, so when booking your ticket consider spending the extra money to upgrade your seat. The cramped seating and lack of space can affect circulation adversely due to the inability to move the legs properly. Maybe you don’t want to pay for first class seats, but some airlines offer premium seating with additional leg room and slightly wider seats for a reasonable upcharge.

Get the blood flowing

Flight delayed? Stroll through the long terminal walkways to keep the blood in your legs from pooling at the ankles. Elevating your legs encourages proper circulation too. Try using your carryon luggage as a footrest when sitting at the gate.

If you are traveling by car, be sure to stop for breaks every hour or so. Get out the car and walk around for 5 minutes to promote good circulation.

While you are sitting – at the gate, in a car, on a plane or on a train – be sure to pump your feet and rotate your ankles regularly while at rest.

Select clothing wisely

Invest in a pair of medical grade compression socks. These socks will force blood from the legs to the heart and brain, increasing the circulation and decreasing the likelihood of blood pooling in the lower extremities.

Wear loose-fitting clothing because it allows blood to flow without restriction. Besides, who doesn’t like to wear a pair of comfortable pants and a baggy shirt?

Watch what you eat

When packing travel snacks choose whole fruit, unsalted nuts, fresh cut veggies and low carb foods. Although chips and pretzels come in unsalted varieties, they are high in carbs. Keep in mind that salt and sugar retain water but so do carbohydrates.


Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to support the venous system while traveling. During air travel, be sure to have a bottle of water on hand before you board the plane. Even though many airlines supply drinking water while in flight, you don’t want to be stuck on a tarmac with not a drop of water in sight. It is best practice to limit beverages with high sugar content and alcohol as these dehydrate the body.

Ready to treat your varicose veins so you can travel with ease and live more fully?

Dr. Van Cheng of the San Diego Vein Institute is a Harvard University educated medical doctor who specializes in treating venous concerns. Dr. Cheng is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit