Sydney, Jan 21 : A study of pilots and passengers has found that wearing tight stockings on long-haul flights is the best way to relieve ankle swelling and to help ward off post-flight fatigue.
To test the benefits, Australian researchers examined the effect of full-length nylon and spandex hosiery on the ankle swelling.
The uncomfortable condition, called ankle oedema, is caused by a build-up of fluid.
Lower-leg socks are known to relieve the uncomfortable condition, called ankle oedema, caused by a build-up of fluid.
However, physiologist Stephen Lambert wanted to demonstrate whether the graduated compression tights used to help athletes recover from strenuous competition could also help air-travellers.
Researchers enlisted about 60 Qantas pilots and passengers to test the hosiery, wearing it on one leg of a trip and flying tights-free on the return leg.
"When subjects wore the [tights] they had a 60 per cent improvement in their leg pain rating at the end of the flight, a 50 per cent improvement in their leg discomfort rating and a 45 per cent improvement in their leg swelling rating," The smh.com.au quoted Dr Lambert, from Westmead Hospital, as saying.
"There was also an 18 per cent improvement in their energy level rating, a 13 per cent improvement in their alertness level and a 12 per cent improvement in their ability to concentrate," he added.
He said that the socks might be beneficial for flight attendants who need to remain alert and active.
The study is published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.