Sore Feet Are No Vacation!
It’s important to take care of your feet at all times for good overall health. Issues with your feet or ankles may eventually lead to problems with your knees, hips or back, and make mobility difficult or impossible.
Travel, whether for work or pleasure, can be particularly hard on feet because it often requires one to spend more time than usual walking, standing in line, or making mad dashes to catch a ride. As a result, it’s not uncommon for individuals to suffer with foot pain, aching in the arch of your foot, an ankle injury or other podiatric issues.
Foot Care Away from Home
Today we’d like to discuss why traveling can be hard on your feet and offer a few precautions you should take to prevent podiatric problems while you are traveling. Of course, should you develop issues with your feet or ankles, please contact TC Foot and Ankle Clinic at our office in Golden Valley, MN to schedule an appointment!
1) Examine Your Feet and Pack Essentials
We abuse our feet every day, but especially while traveling. Rushing from here to there means little issues can morph into big ones if we ignore them. Pay particular attention to your feet and ankles when you’re on the road, beginning by looking them over each day for scrapes, cuts, rashes, sores, discolored or loosened toenails and swelling.
Packing foot care essentials will enable you to address these issues as they occur. Fill a small travel case with bandages, antibiotic cream, nail clippers, tweezers, an emery board and moleskin. These will feel like luxuries when you need them.
2) Choose the Right Shoes
While it might seem like a no-brainer, wearing the right kind of shoes for the environment goes a long way in protecting your feet. Flipflops are fine for relaxing at the beach or around the pool, but are not a great choice when hiking and vice versa. The wrong shoes can lead to injuries such as a stone bruise, heel or toe fracture, plantar fasciitis flare-ups, or even an ankle sprain.
Even when vacationing in a tropical area, be sure to pack a pair of shoes with closed toes and heels and arch supports. If you expect to be walking or standing a lot, you’ll want footwear with great arch and ankle support. Have new shoes professionally fitted and break them in before you go.
3) Rotate Footwear
Feet sweat, even in cold conditions. Dampness from perspiration can cause friction between your feet and the inside of your shoes, even if you’re using shoe inserts, causing blisters or even a bacterial infection. The smallest of blisters can make walking painful.
Your body may compensate for this irritation by making subtle changes to your gait. These variances can throw your balance off enough to cause you to stumble or fall. Having an extra pair of shoes on hand allows you to rotate them and have a dry pair each day. Choose shoes that are low-healed and flexible, and constructed of “breathable” natural fibers, such as leather, suede or cotton.
4) Wear Stockings
The TSA requires you to remove your shoes when going through security. Make sure to wear socks as you proceed through metal detectors and collect your shoes again. With so many feet walking this area, it’s possible to end up with a foot disease like athlete’s foot or plantar warts, or step on a shard of glass or metal.
5) Avoid Prolonged Sitting and Wear Compression Socks
Too much sitting can be just as risky as too much walking. Take measures to avoid deep vein thrombosis or blood clots while traveling. Avoid crossing your legs, and wear compression stockings to promote blood flow from your extremities.
Sitting may also exacerbate issues such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, pain in plantar fascia ligaments or heel spurs. If you’ll be spending a large part of the day seated at a conference, or on a train or plane, it’s important to get up periodically, stretch and walk around a bit. If you’re in an automobile, pull off the road every couple of hours and take a quick walk.
6) Stretch Your Feet
Stretch and massage your feet by gently rolling a tennis ball or frozen bottle of water under the sole of your foot to relieve a plantar fasciitis flareup or pain from overuse. Elevate your feet and roll your ankle joints to increase blood flow. Make an appointment with TC Foot and Ankle clinic before you leave town, and we’ll show you the best way to stretch your feet.
7) Use Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen to the exposed skin of your feet is important, but often overlooked. The American Academy of Dermatology Association encourages using waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on the tops of your feet. Sunburn is painful, and when you walk, your shoes can cause added irritation. Open skin can pick up bacteria and other contaminants, which can lead to a serious skin infection.
8) Stay Hydrated
Drinking water will help with circulation and decrease the inflammation that can cause your feet and ankles to swell. It also helps to prevent lightheadedness and muscle cramping, which can lead to stumbles and falls.
Healthy Feet, Healthy Travel!
If you incur a foot injury or are having serious toe, foot, or ankle pain while traveling, get medical attention as soon as possible. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, feel free to schedule a visit at TC Foot and Ankle Clinic. We encourage residents in the Golden Valley, MN area to see us before they head out on vacation and when they return, to ensure their toes, feet, and ankles remain healthy and they can get the most out of their travel experience.