Travel Safety Tips

How often have we heard horror stories of a person who suffered a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or PE (pulmonary embolism) during or after long trips? It has become such a worry that we have taken many measures to reduce ones risk of developing such problems. What are those measures?

DVT/PE Prevention Tip #1: Compression Socks

Gravity is wonderful, but it can act against you. Your blood will tend to pool and collect in your feet, ankles, and lower leg while you sit. This stagnation in flow causes swelling and may lead to formation of clots, which then produce DVTs and PEs. Wearing a sock that provides a steady force of compression can prevent the negative effects of gravity on circulation.

DVT/PE Prevention Tip #2: Range of Motion Exercises

We have all experienced that moment on a very long trip where we felt so stiff that we couldnt possibly get up and walk without falling on our faces first. One way to not only help prevent joint stiffness, as well as a DVT/PE, is to perform ROM (range of motion) exercises while you sit. It is recommended that you do these types of exercises about every 30 minutes. These exercises will help keep your blood flow moving and prevent pooling. What types of exercises am I talking about?

  • Move your leg up and down, like a seated march (hip joint ROM)
  • Straighten and bend your legs (knee joint ROM)
  • Move your foot up/down, side/side, etc (ankle joint ROM)
  • Bend and wiggle your toes

DVT/PE Prevention Tip #3: Isometric Muscle Contractions

Isometric muscle contractions are a type of exercise where you contract your muscles without any joint motion. The muscle itself does not lengthen but its individual fibers are still firing and blood flow is still increased. A great exercise to perform while in an airplane OR car is to firmly press the ball of your foot onto the floorboard, NOT the back of the seat in front of you.

DVT/PE Prevention Tip #4: A Body in Motion

Obviously, the best method in reducing your risk of a DVT/PE on long trips is to get up and walk around. If you are traveling by air, the pilots will inform you of when you can freely move about the cabin. Taking time every hour to walk up and down the aisle is recommended; as long as you are remain courteous to those around you. If traveling by car, it is recommended that you stop every hour or so, get out of the car, and walk around. Encouraging your kids to play in the street at this point is still not highly regarded.

These are but a few key tips that might just help keep you from suffering a serious and life threatening condition. If you have any foot/ankle related concerns, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Category: Foot Health

Tags: Deep Vein Thrombosis, Prevention, Pulmonary Embolism, Travel