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I used to travel a lot by air - mostly long haul transpacific, too much of it in economy.
The swelling is likely "normal" but was exacerbated the fact the you had just raced and your arterial system was "wide open" allowing fluids to pool in your extremities while you sat for an extended period.
At this point, spend as much time as you can lying on your back with your feet in the air ( no I am not kidding), ice helps, comperssion socks will help and are a great preventative featconure ( I always use them if I am flying back from a race, even a short flight).
Yes, I def am not on board for the whole performance recovery aspect. But when it comes to traveling its great. I wore the De Soto ones on the way to Gold Coast and Budapest and it was heaven. I was able to get off the plane both times and go for runs almost immediately with zero swelling or any pain. I would check them out for travel purposes if nothing else.
In the future -
Race warmdown, lots of walking
Lots of hydration
stop every couple hours as you did, walk around for at least 10 minutes
When traveling, flex your ankles and knees as much as possible.
I got a $5 pair of compression socks from the local pharmacy, which claim to be graduated and designed for travel.
It may have helped a little so far, but my feet are still pretty swollen. I'll have to see how they are in the morning.
One thing to note is that on the way to the race I wore running shoes, and on the way back I had sandals on. Could wearing shoes possibly helped prevent swelling by keeping some pressure around the feet? I didn't have any swelling from the way down, but only after the return trip home.
Yes, the shoes could keep the swelling up or even prolong it. They (your feet) need to breathe.
DISH is how we do it.
Most of the time, leg swelling is caused by the pooling of blood in the lower part of your legs because of poor circulation resulting from serious vein conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, chronic venous insufficiency, lymphedema. Other factors that can lead to swelling includes infections, trauma, heart disorders, obesity, hormones(In pregnant women), prolong standing or prolong sitting, long travel flights or drive.
As you can see, leg swelling can be a symptom of something serious, so if you think it is that serious, you should seek prompt medical care. However, if your leg swelling happened only because you did stand or sat longer hours than usual -- the best way to prevent this from happening again is by wearing compression stockings or socks.
I've been been wearing my compression stockings even if I do not go on long travels, or am not subjected to standing or sitting for long hours. Compression therapy has helped keep legs healthy by ensuring that there is proper blood circulation in the lower legs to prevent venous problems and keep leg healthy.
There are many good brands of compression stockings and socks available out there with different styles and sizes used for every occasion (casual, business, sports), and they come in different compression gradient. It is important to have the proper compression gradient as this is the ultimate way to prevent leg problems. I suggest you invest on a couple of good brands as they really deliver the best result. I get my compression stockings and athletic compression socks from http://www.LegsTherapy.com They carry the best brand of compression stockings and socks at a very good price.
I hope I was able to help you.