Q: Can crossing your legs during a flight cause DVT?

A: No, leg crossing is no more dangerous than watching the in-flight movie. Ever since 'economy class syndrome' hit the headlines in the '80s and '90s, we've been looking for ways to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and its complications. On long-haul flights, many of us are terrified of relaxing into our seats and enjoying the in-flight movie for fear a blood clot will form in our legs, travel to our lungs and kill us. We do aerobics in the aisles to keep our blood moving, haul on compression stockings to shoot blood back up to our hearts and pop aspirin to reduce the chance of a clot. Airlines have joined in, offering us detailed health advice via their in-flight magazines, videos, and websites, on how to avoid a clot. We've been told not to cross our legs during a flight. The idea is that leg crossing constricts blood flow around the knee area, making a clot more likely. So can crossing your legs really bring on DVT? Alex Gallus, professor of haematology at Flinders University Medical School in Adelaide, is emphatic in his answer. "Oh, forget it," he says. "It defies anatomy." The popliteal vein runs down the back of the knee, right down the middle. "If you cross your legs, you have the outside of one knee resting on the outside of the other," says Gallus. "You're not actually constricting anything." He also says that he hasn't seen anything in the literature to suggest a strong link between leg crossing and DVT. Nevertheless, the myth persists. And he says his patients often ask whether it's safe to...
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