Arm and hand Compression during flight : Happy New Year... - LSN


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Arm and hand Compression during flight

Califgirl2008 profile image

Happy New Year! Just a quick question to get some opinions about wearing a compression sleeve and glove for an 18 hour flight and of course for a few hours before and after landing. I have such anxiety about this. I don’t know if I will be able to tolerate it for so many hours. What do you think would happen if I didn’t wear it? Any helpful hints are much appreciated!

14 Replies

Please you must wear it on the plane. If you don't your arm could swell so much and cause pain. I wear mine everyday. Only because I would be devastated for my condition to get worse. So be sensible

I do wear my sleeve and glove everyday, but, not for so may hours. I average 12 hours a day at most and do my MLD in am and pm. Works out pretty well. I’ve never worn it for 24 hours straight. I was curious to get others opinions. Thank you so very much for responding!!

Just wear it!!


Agree with all comments. Wear it.

Califgirl2008 profile image
Califgirl2008 in reply to Lynora

Thank you!

You could further damage your lymphatics by flying without compression particularly for so many hours. And your arm will blow up, swell much much more than ordinarily. Even with compression it will swell more. I make 3-4 long haul flights {12-16 hours) every year - I wear two layers of compression when I fly (flat-knit bespoke garments and compression wraps) due to the extreme swelling that occurs as the result of elevation and cabin pressurisation, Don’t remove your garment at your destination until you’ll have your arm elevated and are not carrying anything anymore. It’s advisable to do lymphatic breathing, self drainage of auxilia nodes, and range of motion exercises with your arms during the flight. Getting up to walk around is beneficial - drink loads and loads of water and make trips to the lavatory (will need to after drinking so much water!) After arrival at your destination take time to do SLD self/Simple Lymphatic Drainage for your trunk, neck and arms.

Have a lovely trip!

Califgirl2008 profile image
Califgirl2008 in reply to CCT67

Thank you very much! I will take your advice!

I agree you should wear your compression and I always do so now. I say "now" because when I was younger I didn't bother, but I was much more lax then generally about my lymphoedema care (apart from an obsession of avoiding cellulitis). After a long flight my legs/ feet would be more swollen but after a couple of days my leg swelling returned to its normal. Now age has made me more sensible. I would not recommend my approach in my yonnger days but it was ok for me, at that time

Thank you, I think I knew wearing the compression was the right thing, but was ever hopeful that I could get away with not wearing it! I-will wear it.

I dont wear a compression sleeve and glove but i do wear a compression garment on my abdomen/apron. I wear this garment 24/7, and i have no problems wearing it. it gets taken off when the nurses come to do my dressings and a clean one put back on. i hope this helps you

Thank you! I will wear it.

I have flown UK to Australia, and UK to Alaska, both wearing compression sleeves for 18+ hours.. On the first flight to Australia, it was a Grade I sleeve for prevention, but even so I found it challenging.. The main reason was that on a day to day basis I wasn't wearing a sleeve, and found the seam around my thumb dug in and became quite painful..

On the second trip (approx 18 months after lymphoedema developed), I made sure I knew which (grade 2) sleeve / glove were most comfortable for extended wear, and put on once I had gone through security (about 2hrs prior to flight). During the flight I then made sure I am keeping my legs moving regularly and did SLD drainage with my sleeve on, approx once per hour, and took a small soft ball to squeeze to keep my hand moving as much as I could.

On arrival after the second flight, I was still very pleased to be able to take the sleeve off, but everything was OK, and I just made sure I did lots of SLD the next day..


Thank you for the tip about the soft ball. I didn’t think about that. I have accepted the fact that I must wear my sleeve on the flight and of course everyday thereafter! Thanks again for taking the time to respond!,

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