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Avoiding puffy ankles on your long-haul flight

It’s lovely to fly off on holiday to somewhere really exciting. But it can be hard to avoid puffy ankles which, if you’re unlucky, could last well into your holiday and seriously spoil that svelte poolside look.

If you’re off on a cruise and plan to spend hours relaxing on deck, you could also see ‘elephant ankles’ start to develop after a few days, particularly if you are carrying a bit of extra weight or are over sixty and less mobile than you used to be.

Avoiding puffy ankles

The cause of swollen ankles is water retention caused by long periods of sitting and the changes in cabin pressure. This type of localised fluid retention is known as Oedema and while mild, occasional fluid retention is common, if your ankles swell regularly, or if the swelling is severe, you should see a GP to rule out any underlying health issues.

So what can you do to help avoid puffy ankles from fluid retention on long-haul flights or cruises?

If you’re flying long-haul, try to get your feet up a little. This can be tricky when there is precious little legroom, but do use the footrest if one is available.

They’re not exactly sexy, but flight socks can help reduce the effects of fluid retention by applying compression and helping to improve circulation in the ankles, as well as protecting you against the rare but more serious threat of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Try to get up at least every 90 minutes to two hours and move around the plane. Whilst relaxing in your seat, move your feet around from time to time. It can be quite boring, so I find that drawing all the letters of the alphabet with each foot every hour or so when you are seated can help. Or if you want to make it a bit more exciting, you could ‘write’ the name of your holiday destination by wiggling each foot in the air. There are usually exercises on a sheet in the seatback pocket if you need more inspiration.

Keep your salt intake down – airline food can be a bit bland and it can be tempting to shake on the salt or to relieve boredom by snacking on salty snacks like crisps or peanuts.

Don’t overdo it on the alcohol on flights. Drinking alcohol can make fluid retention worse and you are more likely to slump in your seat, potentially impacting circulation and increasing puffiness.

If you’re on a cruise, try to keep your feet up higher than your head by putting a rolled-up beach towel under your feet when you’re relaxing on one of those lovely poolside recliners. Take regular strolls around the decks, building in a few flights of stairs between decks if you can.

Take a licensed, natural herbal remedy such as HRI Water Balance. This traditional herbal medicinal is a great way of avoiding puffy ankles, as it relieves the symptoms of mild water retention, based on traditional use only. It contains Dandelion leaf & root and extracts of Uva-ursi leaf and Buchu leaf which are the active ingredients. Do make sure you choose traditional herbal products approved by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) which carry the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) logo on the packaging.

These few simple steps should mean that you can skip off the plane at your destination wearing your strappiest sandals and ready to enjoy your holiday to the full.

Bon voyage!

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