I thought flight socks were for grannies

Andy Tucker is 25 and as a self-confessed fidget, didn’t think to buy flight socks for his worldwide travels earlier this year. The London-based estate agent takes time to move around on flights but despite this he suffered a debilitating blood clot on a flight back from New Zealand.

Andy flew to South Africa for a week’s holiday, then shortly after had a week in New Zealand flying via Dubai. It was on his return to Dubai from New Zealand that he noticed the pain in his right leg.

“My calf began to hurt after I woke from sleeping,” Andy explained. “I stretched it and walked about, as it felt like I’d had cramp in my sleep and it was aching. But it didn’t seem to get any better with the stretching and it hurt for the rest of the flight, then again on the connecting flight from Dubai to London. I was sitting in economy and it was difficult to stretch my leg and get comfortable.

“Once I got back to London I went home to bed, then to work the next morning. I had been sitting down for an hour and a half, and the pain was troubling me so I knew something wasn’t right. The thought that it was a DVT was at the back of my mind and I called NHS 111 to tell them about my symptoms. They told me to go straight to A&E. I had a blood test at A&E then was sent for a scan, which confirmed it was a DVT. I was put on blood thinners for three months and told I should wear flight socks un the future, as well as having blood thinning drugs prior to flying.”

A blood clot or deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is usually formed in the leg when sitting immobile for hours, such as on a long-haul flight. DVT is dubbed ‘economy-class syndrome’ due to travellers sitting in cramped conditions and not able to move their legs to keep the blood flow returning back to the heart. The blood starts to clot hampering the ability of blood to flow around the clot which causes pain. Symptoms include aching, soreness and a red colour to the skin area.

In severe conditions, the blood clot can travel through the veins to the heart and can cause a blockage – a Pulmonary Embolism – which can be fatal if it travels to the lung. There are 67,000 known cases of DVT in the UK every year, but more worrying a 2016 report showed 4% of those flying over four hours suffer an asymptomatic DVT – suffering a DVT without symptom and the risk increases the more often you fly.

The NHS advises people travelling by plane should wear well-fitting compression stockings and there is a warning about ensuring the right fit – one study showed that off-the-shelf compression socks failed to fit 98% patients. Well-fitting compression helps by squeezing the blood from the outer veins into the deep veins in your calf and helping the blood flow back to your heart.

Vascular expert Professor Charles McCollum of the University of Manchester Hospital advises: “Well-fitting socks should be worn from the morning of your flight as there can be a lot of sitting around waiting at airports. I would advise avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated as well as moving around every hour on the plane. Just a short trip to the toilet and back aids your blood flow. Keep the compression socks on for a couple of hours after the flight. The compression will stop any swelling in your legs and will help with that ‘heavy leg’ jet lag feeling.”

Andy won’t be taking any chances in the future. “I thought flight socks were for grannies. It didn’t even cross my mind that I would need to wear them and I’d never had any problems before. I will always wear flight socks in the future. Even my mum, dad and brother are getting them now after seeing what happened to me!”

 

 

76% of UK adults flying long-haul risk DVT

Almost a quarter of UK adults will fly long-haul (over four hours) on holiday or business this year, but are perhaps unaware that one in 25 will suffer an asymptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There are 67,000 DVTs diagnosed in the UK every year and travellers are at an increased risk due to blood to pooling in the legs caused by being immobile in their seats for so long.

A YouGov survey commissioned by Isobar Compression, which make the world’s only exact-fit compression garment, has revealed the dangers travellers are exposed to as they fail to realise the risks of DVT whilst flying. In this survey, only 25 per cent of UK adults surveyed taking a long-haul flight this year said that they are concerned with DVT, whilst 76 per cent said they would not wear compression socks to specifically minimise DVT risk.

The risk of DVT is higher for those with a risk factor such as being obese, pregnant, on the contraceptive pill or had recent surgery.

The survey showed that age is a factor in people’s perceptions of DVTs, with 53 per cent of those surveyed believing that older people are more at risk of getting DVT during travel. Although older people are more likely to suffer from venous conditions such as leg ulcers which require compression, any adult can suffer a DVT if they are immobile for long period when travelling.

Professor Charles McCollum, Professor of Surgery and Head of Academic Surgery at the University of Manchester and Isobar Chief Medical Advisor said, “The results of the YouGov survey show that travellers are putting themselves at unnecessary risk of potentially life-threatening DVTs because they either believe they are not at risk, or are too young for it to be relevant to them.

“But with one in 25 travellers suffering asymptomatic DVTs and in view of the long-term risk of chronic aching and leg swelling with venous ulcers in the elderly, this is a serious concern for any long-haul traveller, no matter their age.

“Isobar Compression delivers the precise pressures needed to prevent DVT. This is something that cannot be achieved by any existing shop-bought compression stocking as these are only available in five standard sizes and often don’t fit well enough to be effective.”

Half of those surveyed will exercise their calves to avoid DVT, which is recommended by airline companies. However, half of their customers do not exercise. Importantly, adequate compression using a precisely-fitted flight sock improves the pumping action of the calf during these exercises.

A study by K Bowling in 2015 has shown that off-the-shelf socks do not fit 98 per cent of people and for 54 per cent of those, off-the-shelf socks had a negative effect at times meaning it impeded blood flow.

The NHS recommends wearing well-fitting compression garments to prevent venous blood pooling and encourage blood flow out the leg. Isobar Compression’s solution is to provide a compression sock that is bespoke to the individual, guaranteed to fit and deliver the right pressure to reduce DVT risk. The custom-fit Isobar flight sock has been proven to halve blood pooling.

Isobar Compression’s unique, portable 3D scanner captures 260,000 data points from the patient’s limb and uses this precise profile to produce an exact fit flight socks for the individual leg with the precise pressure gradients required to improve blood flow. No other system in the world can do this and as the flight socks fit perfectly, they are also more comfortable than standard products.

Isobar supports Around the World cycle challenge

Ultra-endurance athlete Mark Beaumont has set off on his record breaking attempt to cycle around the world in just 80 days. In 2008 Mark successfully cycled around the world in 194 days, this time he will attempt to do it in less than half the time.

Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around the World in Eighty days published in 1873, Mark will attempt to circumnavigate the globe over 144 years later by bicycle rather than balloon as he embarks on the Artemis World Cycle.

Mark departed from Paris at 04:00 on Sunday morning, making his way towards Poland en route to Beijing through Lithuania, Russia, and Mongolia before cycling between Perth and Brisbane in Australia.

In New Zealand Mark will head for Invercargill and Auckland with the fourth leg of his challenge taking him between Anchorage in the United States and Halifax in Canada. He will attempt to complete his journey by cycling from Lisbon back to Paris with the aim of arriving by Thursday 21st September.

Isobar Compression is pleased to be supporting Mark with custom-fit compression socks for both recovery from his gruelling cycling schedule, but also for recovery from air travel between continents.

Mark comments: “This is my chance to shoot for the stars and take on the ultimate endurance cycling challenge. Since I last pedalled around the world nearly ten years ago, there has been a growing desire in me to push the boundaries of what is possible and to retake the circumnavigation World Record at a whole new level. I know what I’m getting myself in to, this will be the toughest challenge of my life and will be an immense physical, mental and logistical battle before I reach the finish line.

“I have spent the last three years creating an amazing support team, who are in charge of my nutrition, logistics, navigation and safety, allowing me to purely focus on my performance and being an athlete. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to go this fast and this far before and I have been building on my experience as an endurance rider over two decades to prepare for this journey”.

You can keep track of Mark’s progress via his website: www.artemisworldcycle.com

GB Skeleton and Bobsleigh choose Isobar

This week the Isobar team has been out scanning the GB Skeleton elite and development squads, alongside Bobsleigh athletes for custom-fit Isobar Compression for recovery and travel.

The scanning took place at their training base at Bath University with athletes including Isobar ambassador Bruce Tasker, pictured, having a 3D scan from which we'll make custom-fit garments.

These are the latest sports squads to be scanned following on from the Kenya Rugby 7s last month.

Kenya Rugby Sevens choose Isobar Compression

Isobar Compression has been chosen by the Kenya Rugby Sevens team to provide compression to the players. Isobar has been specifically chosen due to its customised fit, which will help the players to recover from their grueling long-haul flying schedule and minimise DVT risk.

The Kenya team was scanned this week in London as they trained ahead of the Final round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Kenya is one of 15 top nations in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series competing in ten events each season. Kenya recorded its first tournament win in the 2015–16 World Rugby Sevens Series beating Fiji at the 2016 Singapore Sevens. 

Steve Walsh, high performance consultant, said: “Coming from Nairobi, the team has to take multiple flights to compete and we need something that’s going to help with their recovery and minimise DVTs.

“I’ve had two DVTs flying back from Australia, despite wearing other compression socks and doing my calf exercises, so had fallen out with using compression. But I’ve done my homework on Isobar and it’s a product that I’m happy to look at. I’m interested in the fact that they are customised and I need something I can trust to give the players a good recovery package. Athletes love anything customised as it’s made for them, so the players are excited to try Isobar socks.”

Isobar’s unique 3D scanning technology enables us to deliver comfortable, bespoke compression socks set to the pressure athletes need to improve circulation. Our garments are clinically proven to reduce the risk of DVT and boost athletic recovery.

Captain Andrew Amonde added: “It’s important to get your legs ready for the game after you’ve been travelling. Compression should be fitted to get the maximum out of it.”

Isobar Compression is the first choice for travel for athletes including Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Team GB Bobsleigh driver Bruce Tasker, the British Swimming team and endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont.

SBRI Healthcare research contract awarded

Isobar Compression has been awarded a research contract from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) for Healthcare, to assist in a feasibly study in primary care for the treatment of venous leg ulcers. The research contract was made by SBRI for Healthcare as part of a series of awards recognising the current pressures in primary care and the need to advance the future of general practice.

Over 500,000 people in the UK have had venous leg ulceration, with between 170-190,000 suffering from lower limb ulceration at any one time (Posnett et al, 2009). At least 80 per cent of these leg ulcers are due to problems in the veins (O’Meara et al, 2009).

Graduated compression therapy is the mainstay of treatment for venous leg ulcers and is generally applied using multi-layer bandages or compression socks. Compression socks are typically supplied in standard sizes and the pressure they produce is extremely variable and unreliable due to the wide variation in patient leg shape and size. Multi-layer bandaging is bulky and is applied by a specially-trained nurse, at least weekly, so time consuming.

Isobar Compression’s solution is to provide a compression sock that is bespoke to the individual patient. A portable 3D scanner captures at least 260,000 data points from the patient’s limb and this accurate measurement produces an exact fit for the individual leg with precise pressure to the nearest mmHg (millimetres of mercury) required. No other system in the world can do this as other manufacturers rely on tape measurements, which is subject to observer error.

Jim Hampton, Medical Advisor at Isobar Compression, said: “We are delighted to receive a research contract from the SBRI. The grant will help Isobar Compression have a significant role to play in the management of venous ulcer disease. Isobar Compression socks are comfortable, durable, effective and cost effective, as well as saving a considerable amount of skilled nurse time.

“Due to the precise pressure of Isobar Compression, clinicians are also excited about the application of our custom-fit socks for lymphoedema patients. For the first time, we can undertake research in Primary Care to understand the impact of different pressure profiles on healing and prevention.”

22 companies will share a £2.1 million investment to develop and commercialise novel technologies with the potential to revolutionise GP services. Advanced Therapeutic Materials, the parent company to Isobar Compression, received the award from the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

Dr Liz Mear, Chair of the AHSN Network, commented, “There are few areas of our daily lives that remain untouched by technological advancement. Through the SBRI Healthcare programme, the AHSN Network is working with industry partners to develop solutions that will help deliver high quality GP services to a growing and ageing population, and ensure patients across the country benefit from new and innovative technologies.”

Isobar supports ultra endurance athlete

Isobar Compression is pleased to announce its support for ultra endurance athlete Mark Beaumont, whose challenge to cycle around the world begins in July. Isobar is supplying Mark with compression arm sleeves and socks to aid his recovery during rides.

Mark has just completed a 3,500-mile training ride around Britain, ahead of his 18,000-mile circumnavigation of the world in July. Mark is aiming to cycle the world in 80 days in a world-record attempt.

You can read about Mark's world record attempt here: http://www.artemisworldcycle.com

 

Learn how to boost athletic recovery

Buckinghamshire runners, cyclists and triathletes are invited to hear how compression helps boost athletic recovery at specialist sports shop Apex Sports on Wednesday 29th March.

People attending the open evening in Farnham Common, Bucks, will discover how Isobar Compression garments aid athletic recovery and will see the revolutionary 3D scanning technology in action. Guest speakers include Isobar's sports medicine specialist Matt Stevens and brand ambassador Jasmijn Muller, the Zwift indoor distance record holder and DVT survivor.

Refreshments will be served and a free wash bag is on offer with every pair of Isobar Compression socks or calf sleeves purchased on the night. 

Event details

When: Wednesday 29th March, 6.30–8pm
Where: Apex Sports, 1 Prospect Court, The Broadway, Farnham Common, Bucks SL2 3QQ
Cost: Free
Queries: Apex Sports 01753 647339  

 

 

Manchester MP Lucy Powell has Isobar 3D scan

Manchester MP Lucy Powell has exclusively visited the University Hospital of South Manchester, where she underwent and learnt about Isobar's 3D scanning technology. The University Hospital is the first NHS clinic to scan patients for Isobar Compression garments, proven to help prevent or treat medical complications associated with venous disease or leg swelling.

The MP for Manchester Central met with Professor of Vascular Surgery Charles McCollum to learn about the medical advances created by Isobar Compression and the research collaboration between surgery and advanced textile engineering at the University of Manchester. 

Specialist textiles created by the University of Manchester’s Textiles Department combined with innovative 3D scanning, ensure Isobar garments are personalised for each wearer. Isobar's technology is reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis from long haul flights for consumers, athletes and business travellers.

Advanced Therapeutic Materials, which manufactures Isobar Compression has also announced the move of its production base to the Empress Business Centre in Old Trafford, choosing the site due to Manchester’s reputation as a UK textiles hub.

Lucy Powell MP said: “Manchester has long been regarded as the textiles centre of the UK and the technology being developed by Isobar Compression as well as their production base moving to the city is testament to the incredible reputation we have.

“Professor Charles McCollum is a world leader in vascular surgery and I was delighted to learn more about the technology he and his team have created as I underwent scanning.” 

Isobar Compression designs and manufactures precise, custom fit compression garments by capturing thousands of personal data points on a leg or arm through a two-minute 3D scan, then a personalised garment is knitted by a computer-driven knitting machine to deliver the right pressure, bespoke fit and comfort for each individual customer or patient.

The MP for Manchester Central continued: “We take our health seriously and advanced technologies to protect and prevent against health problems are welcomed and I look forward to receiving and wearing my bespoke compression garments after my scan.”

Isobar Compression socks are worn by leading athletes around the world, including Olympic triathlon medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, who recently announced they wear the garments for their significant travel requirements by their intense training and competition schedules.