Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

Puff Daddy

Is it true your body swells at high elevations?

Question:

A friend of mine swears that his body puffs up at high altitude, making his ski boots fit tighter. Is there any truth to this?

Submitted by - Steve, Longmont, CO

Answer:

High altitude-induced peripheral edema—swelling in the face, hands, and feet—has long been known about, and visitors to higher elevations often experience it. The cause is not well understood, but there seem to be no serious complications involved as long as it goes away shortly after descent. Also, your friend should make sure that tight boots do not cut off circulation to his feet.

1 Comment

  1. Jerry W Doyle

    Sue & everybody,

    Your comment for folk to remove their finger rings before hiking/staying at high altitudes has high merit for multiple reasons, beyond just high altitudes. Another serious reason for removal is the possibility that the ring gets caught on to something resulting in serious injury to the ring finger. It is not unheard of for a hiker losing his/her finger, or sustaining serious injury to the ring finger because it caught onto some object (especially during a jump down). So, I agree fully that hikers, backpackers should leave their rings home before heading out on the trails.

    Jerry D

Leave a Reply