Flying with Restless Leg Syndrome? Our South Park Podiatrist Suggests Ways to Find Relief

January 1, 2020

If you’re an RLS sufferer planning on taking a lot of trips this year, you may be dreading the upcoming flights and the jittery, pins-and-needles feeling that will accompany them. Luckily, there are some ways to alleviate the discomfort you experience from Restless Leg Syndrome. Learn more below from our South Park podiatrist.

Choose an Aisle Seat

If it’s possible to choose your seat before the flight, take advantage of the option and choose an aisle seat. This will allow you to periodically stretch your legs without disturbing the person next to you, and possibly even take small exercise trips up and down the cabin. Sitting in the bulkhead or next to an emergency exit might also provide some much-needed leg room. If the online check-in won’t allow you to pick your seat, arrive early and tell the gate agent that you have a medical issue. Most airlines will be happy to accommodate your needs.

Choose Business Class

Most of us can’t afford a first class seat every time we fly, but business class is a bit more affordable and can provide much more leg room than economy class. If your flights are a total misery for you, it might be a worthwhile investment in your health and peace of mind. If you are traveling for work reasons, business class seating can sometimes be billed to a client or employer if you are using it for health reasons.

Exercise Before Boarding

Many RLS sufferers find that exercising a few hours before their flight can help burn off some extra energy and relieve their restlessness later on. If you don’t have the time for a workout in the busy pre-flight hours, try to walk, stand, stretch, and browse the airport shops right up to the moments before boarding. Additionally, watch what you eat the night before your trip: greasy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can all exacerbate RLS.

Wear Compression Sleeves

Many RLS sufferers find relief on long flights by wearing neoprene compression sleeves. Usually worn by athletes to enhance performance and aid in recovery, compression sleeves are also used in the medical world to support muscles and relieve discomfort. If you have multiple conditions affecting your feet and ankles, ask your podiatrist if compression sleeves might be beneficial, or exacerbate other issues.

Use Medication

RLS is a neurological condition, not a physical one. As such, it is usually treated with neurological medications from a psychiatrist or neurological specialist. Gabapentin is most commonly used, but and iron and magnesium supplements are also helpful for some patients. Start any prescriptions as early as possible, long before your flight, so that your body will already be used to them by the time you board. A plane is the last place you want to be if any unexpected side effects hit!

Need a Foot Doctor in South Park?

If you need a podiatrist or foot surgeon in South Park, call Ryan Foot & Ankle Clinic. Our experienced podiatrists can examine your feet and prescribe treatments that can alleviate your pain and/or discomfort. To request an appointment with our office, simply fill out our contact form here.