Toothbrush—check. Cell phone charger—check. Passport—check. Foot care plan—wait, what?
Though you may be eager to get that luggage packed and out on the road, before you head out the door to the airport and toward that much-needed vacation, your feet and ankles should be taken into consideration.
After all, they will be the ones taking you from here to there as you go about your vacation adventures. From relaxing walks on the beach, to exciting hiking quests, your feet will indeed be your main vehicle!
Unfortunately, most of us tend to plan our spring and summer getaways without thinking twice about the health of our feet. But the truth is that this lack of concern can easily lead to soreness, exhaustion, swelling, blisters, injuries and more!
And let’s face it: nothing ruins a vacation faster than a painful or injured foot.
But the good news is that there are plenty of ways to save yourself the headache—and foot ache—during and after travelling. So you can say bon voyage to painful feet, swollen ankles, sightseeing blisters, and all other annoying foot problems travelers often face. Just keep these tips in your back pocket.
Wear the Right Shoes
This is important. You should be prepared for long waits in lines at the airport (or bus station, or train station, etc.), far walks to terminals, and a possible mad-dash to a connecting flight.
And though flip-flops and sandals are arguably easier to slip off as you go through TSA security check points, they also expose your feet to sharp objects and dirty airport surfaces, as well as increase your risk of tripping and spraining an ankle.
So you should wear comfortable shoes that provide proper support while heading to your destination. And make sure to wear socks with your comfy shoes, so that your bare feet aren’t exposed to bacteria and viruses that can lead to athlete’s foot or plantar warts.
Wear the Right Socks
We already briefly mentioned this, but it’s worth emphasizing. Your socks will not only protect your skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, but they will also keep your feet healthy.
Think about it: Typically, you are required to take off your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detectors at airports, and walking barefoot through an airport will definitely expose your feet to bacteria and viruses that could cause plantar warts and athlete’s foot, or even harmful, sharp objects.
So protect your feet while they are inside and out of your shoes as you travel – wear breathable, moisture-wicking socks that will keep your feet safe and cool.
Avoid Taking New Shoes
Yes, we know you may be eager to show off that new pair of kicks on vacation. You might even have bought them specifically for this occasion. But new shoes are often stiff and uncomfortable at first, and if you end up doing lots of walking on your trip, then you may end up suffering in those cute new shoes.
Instead, bring shoes that you like and that you know are comfortable. And if you must take those new shoes with you, at least break them in for a few days before packing them in your luggage and refrain from wearing them as you travel—new shoes can be unforgiving and a good way to start your vacation on the wrong foot.
This is especially true if you have a flight or drive that is more than 2 hours long.
Be sure to stretch your legs, feet, and ankles or get up and walk around at least once every hour. Doing so will help circulate the blood to prevent deep vein thrombosis, or dangerous blood clots in the legs. It will also help prevent swelling and stiffness in your feet and ankles.
If you have a history of foot and ankle swelling, you may want to consider wearing compression socks or stockings while you travel.
Pack a Small First-Aid Kit
Though wearing the right shoes will lower your risk of injury to the feet and ankles, you may still develop a blister from that long walk through the shopping village or maybe scrape your foot on a sharp coral at the beach.
If you experience an injury—and we certainly hope that doesn’t happen—you should clean your feet with saline (yes, eye solution!), apply a small amount of antibiotic cream, and cover it with a band-aid or gauze. If you suffer a puncture wound or other serious injury, you should immediately seek medical attention to prevent infections and other complications.
Make sure to follow-up with an appointment at our Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists office once you return from vacation.
Place a Towel on the Floor Before Entering the Shower or Bathtub
When showering or bathing in your hotel of choice, make sure you place a towel on the floor. Doing so will help prevent slipping when you exit. It will also help dry your toes and protect them from infections like athlete’s foot.
You should use flip-flops or sandals sparingly, but make sure you have them on when walking barefoot in locker rooms and around pools where you may pick up athlete’s foot, a plantar wart infection or toenail fungus. Wearing them when walking around your hotel room and as you shower is also a good idea.
Alternate Shoes Every Day
Wearing the same shoes on your vacation can be a recipe for smelly feet. Moisture and bacteria can build up inside your shoes if you don’t allow them time to air out between uses.
So, make sure to pack an extra pair of shoes, along with a pair of flip-flops or shower shoes to use in moist common areas like pools, locker rooms, and even hotel room showers where it can be easy to pick up athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.
We Can Help You!
We certainly hope that, armed with these helpful foot care tips, you will be able to enjoy your next vacation without much risk of ruining your trip due to foot or ankle problems. Though, we also understand that whenever our bodies are active, injury is always a potential factor. And, if that is ever the case for you, then we are here to help!
If you need more information on how to keep your feet and ankles healthy throughout your adventures, or if you would like to schedule an appointment before or after your trip, just contact our office at (512) 328-8900. You can also take advantage of our handy contact form online right now!