As if jet lag, security checkpoints and motion sickness weren't bad enough, long trips can affect your legs and feet too. Technology has advanced to the point that it's possible to travel thousands of miles in a day, but our bodies haven't quite kept up. The Mayo Clinic called this phenomenon edema, when travelers stay stationary for long periods and experience blood circulation issues such as ankle swelling due to a buildup of excess fluid in lower extremities.

Anytime you sit in one position for hours at a time – whether it's in a car, plane, train or bus – leg swelling or swollen feet may be a natural consequence. The blood and fluid pooling in the lower legs is often harmless. Minor cases of leg swelling or swollen ankles should resolve themselves within a few hours after traveling. A few simple blood flow encouraging remedies can help speed up process, if worried though, see a healthcare professional or podiatrist for advice.

Get Blood Pumping Using Exercise

Going for a swim after traveling helps reduce any leg swelling, but it's not an option in most cases. But exercise is ideal for de-puffing the legs and feet because it gets the blood flowing so it doesn't stay settled in the lower extremities. Walk briskly through the terminal during a layover; spend a few minutes climbing stairs, or just do some jumping jacks in place before continuing air travel.

If your legs start swelling or you notice foot swelling while you're still stuck in a seated position, lift your feet and alternate pointing your toes forward and pulling them back toward the ankle. Move your feet in slow circles too.

Elevate the Legs

Putting your feet up during or after a long trip might feel counterintuitive; after all, you've been sitting all day. It might help reduce swelling, though. Lie down for a few minutes with legs propped up on a pillow or rest them on a chair while sitting down. Even raising your feet a few inches off the ground should help get blood moving.

Pull on Compression Garments

Compression socks or stockings aren't stylish, but they are useful. They put pressure on the leg veins and increase circulation to prevent blood from pooling there. Even if your legs are already swollen, donning compression socks should help push that fluid away from the lower extremities.

Seek Medical Treatment

Swollen legs can be a sign of a medical issue called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or the development of blood clots in the legs. The condition can turn fatal if the clots make their way to the lungs. People who are obese, have had recent surgery, are older than 40, have cancer, are pregnant or have given birth in the previous six weeks, use contraceptives containing estrogen, are on hormone replacement therapy or have any history of blood vessel clots or vein issues are at increased risk of developing DVT.

If just one leg is swollen, if leg swelling is severe and doesn't go down within a few hours or if you have any of the risk factors for DVT, don't assume the issue will resolve itself, seek medical attention. Call your doctor or visit an urgent-care center or ER right away. A doctor may run some wellness tests to diagnose DVT and prescribe blood thinners to break up the clot or address poor circulation.

Preventing Leg Swelling Next Time

All the strategies that help ease the symptoms of swollen legs are effective in preventing it from happening in the first place. Wear compression socks or stockings during travel, these can easily be found in stores or on Amazon. Your doctor may even prescribe custom-fit compression stockings if you're prone to developing clots. In days leading up to the flight, drink plenty of water and avoid those tempting salty foods or salty snacks that will impact hydration retention.

Elevate your legs as much as possible and be sure to place your carry-on in the above head storage to maximize leg room. During a long trip, get out of your seat or out of the car every two to three hours to walk around. If you're prone to leg swelling or have risk factors for DVT, book aisle seats on the plane ( when you fly, to allow for easy access to the aisle.