Vacation ready feet
We are in the thick of summer when most Bahamians are traveling – whether you are planning to swim with the pigs in Exuma, walk around the town in Grand Bahama, or shop until you drop in the malls, wherever you plan to go, traveling can take a toll on your feet and any injury or pain can ruin your entire vacation.
So, before you head out on your next trip, the following are simple good foot health tips to follow while traveling. And if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, visit a podiatrist before traveling to find out what’s causing the problem and to have it treated as soon as possible. Remember, foot pain is not normal and it can ruin your travel plans.
Shoes: Review your travel itinerary and the activities you have planned to decide on the type and amount of shoes you will need to pack. As a general rule, wear comfortable, supportive shoes such as an athletic shoe or sneakers. They should fit properly, with good arch support and be worn with socks to prevent rubbing, discomfort and blisters. Do not take new shoes that have never been worn on your vacation. It is a good idea to condition and prepare your feet and legs for the activities you plan to perform during your vacation. For example, if you plan to walk a lot, several weeks before your trip, begin a regular walking program wearing the shoes you will take on your trip. This will help you to enjoy your vacation more and prevent aches, pains or injury that can occur when starting a new workout routine.
Prevent a blood clot: When sitting while flying or driving for a long time, there is increased risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the legs. You are especially at risk if you’ve recently had leg surgery, are confined to a bed, have cancer, are older than 40 years, are obese, are taking birth control pills and if you smoke. The risk of developing a DVT from air travel is also strongly linked to age, as it is more common in the elderly than in young people. Studies estimate that three to five percent of travelers develop clots in their veins related to travel. In the United States, it is estimated that one million cases of DVT related to air travel occur every year and that 100,000 of these people die. To prevent this, we recommend that when traveling for more than four hours, to get up and move around at least every two hours, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages, avoid crossing your legs and exercise your legs by flexing your feet and ankles regularly, wiggling your toes and unlacing your shoes if your feet swell. Don’t go barefooted: Always wear shoes or sandals while walking on the sand to prevent foot injuries from the hot sand and punctures from objects that may be hidden beneath the sand. Walking barefooted exposes the feet to sunburn, as well as the virus that causes plantar warts, fungi that cause athlete’s foot, or nail fungus and many other infections. Persons with diabetes should never walk barefooted, not indoors or outdoors.
Apply sunscreen: For persons with lighter complexions, be sure to apply sunscreen to your legs, feet and even between the toes while basking in the sun. This is especially important for children. Apply sunscreen regularly, at least every three to four hours, to prevent sunburns and the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Foot first aid: Take a small first-aid kit that includes foot care items and be prepared in case of any minor foot problems. Pack Band-Aids, foot pads, talcum powder, antibiotic or first-aid cream and nail files and clippers in your toiletry bag. Also, pack your insurance care and information just in case you need it. If you injure your foot or ankle while traveling, apply first-aid treatment; but if that does not relieve the symptoms, seek professional attention from a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Pamper your feet: After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, walking, hiking or whatever you have planned for your vacation, treat your feet well; massage them, elevate them, and rest them. After all, you will need them to do it all over again tomorrow. Follow these tips for safe and healthy feet on your vacation.
• For more information or to see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996; or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820; or email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.apma.org.