Many Americans will be heading off to warmer locales during the spring vacations this month, looking to get an early start on their summer tan, and get away from it all for a bit. They've packed their bags with every thing they need, from bathing suits, to beach blankets, to sunscreen, and shorts. They know to stay away from tap water in some vacation destinations and have likely packed Pepto-Bismol just in case.
But the one thing those going on vacation are probably not thinking about is the most important thing to ensure they have a good time: their feet! Think about it: without your feet how will you get to the beach, walk around Disney, or get through airport security?
"Foot health is especially important to travelers," says American Podiatric Medical Association president Dr. Joseph Caporusso. "If your feet hurt or you sustain an ankle injury, your whole vacation could be ruined. Plus, poor foot health can have a detrimental effect on your overall well-being."
Here are some tips to keep your vacation foot and ankle healthy!
When getting ready to arrive at the airport, remember that you will have to remove your shoes for airport security. However, don't be tempted to wear flip-flops just because they're easy to slip off and on.
"Flip-flops are never a great walking shoe, and if you have to walk long distances from gate to gate or from your gate to ground transportation, or if you have to hurry, flip-flops could lead to problems," Caporusso says.
Wearing flip-flops means that you will go barefoot through airport security- yuck! You'll leave your feet exposed to sharp, exposed, or uneven surfaces, and of course, germs. If you think shoes with laces will be too cumbersome, select shoes that can slip off and on easily and always wear socks.
If you're driving to your destination, foot comfort is key, especially when going long distances. Look for shoes that won't slip off the gas or brake pedals and potentially cause an accident. And don't take your shoes off when driving, as they can become lodged under the pedals. In some states it is illegal to drive barefoot.
After months of cold, dreary, snowy weather, nothing can be better than a warm, beach location during April vacation. Your spirits immediately brighten and you're more carefree. In your moments of "Let's go to the beach now!" you may forget to apply sunscreen to your feet and ankles. Cover the tops, toes, ankles, and even soles of your feet. Limit how long you walk barefoot, as you can be exposed to ringworm, plantar warts, athlete's foot, sunburn, and other infections and injury. Never walk barefoot in pool areas or locker rooms, as these are breeding grounds for fungus and infection.
When packing your bag or pocketbook for vacation, include these items:
- Moisturizer to keep feet hydrated.
- Sterile bandages to cover minor cuts and abrasions.
- Antibiotic cream to treat skin cuts and irritations.
- Blister pads to apply to affected area. If you're prone to blisters when walking on vacation, especially when wearing new shoes, apply the blister pad before heading out for the day.
- Pain relievers like Motrin or Advil to treat pain.
- Nail clippers and emery boards.
- Sunscreen and aloe vera in case of sunburn.
"No one wants to spend their vacation with sore feet- or worse yet, at the doctor's office," says Caporusso. "Taking care of your feet while traveling can help ensure your vacation stays on track and the only things you bring home are great memories and souvenirs."
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
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