Summer is here! You have planned – and the long-awaited vacation is finally here. Nothing ruins a perfect summer vacation faster than painful feet. Summer is when we spend lots of time outdoors, in sandals and even barefoot. This is comfortable, but increases the risk of injury and pain to the feet. From the airport to your hotel room or from the beach to your backyard, there are many opportunities for injury to your feet including puncture wounds, sunburns, fractures and much more.
The following are 10 steps you can take to prevent foot and ankle pain and injury and keep your feet safe this summer or on your vacation:
• Wear comfortable shoes when traveling, especially at the airport. You never know how long you will have to wait in line, how far you will walk to the terminal, or if you will have to make a mad dash to make a connecting flight. Loose-fitting flip-flops and sandals increase your risk of tripping, falling and spraining your ankle. Sneakers (tennis) are your best bet because they are usually well made, support your feet well, and are comfortable.
• Wear socks with those comfortable shoes. Not only do socks protect your feet from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, but they can also keep your feet clean and healthy when you’re required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detectors at airports. Walking barefoot through an airport exposes your feet to bacteria and viruses. Socks can also keep your feet warm, especially on cold airplanes or at airports.
• Avoid wearing new shoes on vacation. They can be stiff and unforgiving, causing friction and blisters. If you plan to dance the night away or do a lot of walking, wear comfortable, well-fitting, supportive shoes that you have worn for a while and that will make your feet as happy as you are.
• Check your children’s shoes for size, condition, fit and comfort, too.
• Take flip-flops or slip-on sandals. Avoid walking barefoot in locker rooms, airports, around pools or other public areas where you may pick up bacteria, viruses or fungi that can cause athlete’s foot, a plantar wart, toenail fungus or other infections.
• Pack an antifungal cream or powder. If you’re staying in a hotel or using public pools or showers, wear flip-flops or sandals, sanitize your feet with an antiseptic and use an antifungal product to help prevent athlete’s foot.
• Place a towel or rug on the floor before entering the shower or bathtub. This can prevent slipping when you exit. The towel will also help protect your feet from infections.
• If you are traveling for more than two hours, be sure to get up and stretch your legs and pump your ankle/feet. This will help circulate the blood to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or dangerous blood clots in the legs. Consider wearing compression socks on the plane to also help prevent blood clots and DVT by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart.
• Pack a small first-aid kit. Chances are you may develop a blister from that long walk through the shopping mall or scrape your foot on a piece of rock at the beach. Clean your injured foot with saline, apply a small amount of antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage or gauze dressing. Observe to make sure it is healing in a couple of days.
• For more serious injuries, see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Remember to pack your insurance card for your vacation, too. If you suffer an injury like a puncture wound, fracture or ankle sprain, you should be evaluated and treated by a podiatrist within 24 to 48 hours to ensure proper healing and to prevent complications.
Following these simple steps can ensure that your feet play their part in making sure your vacation is enjoyable and safe rather than ruined with screams of, “Oh, my aching feet!”
• For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apma.org. To see a podiatrist, telephone 325-2996 for an appointment, visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, or call 394-5824 for an appointment; or visit Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre on Hilltop Medical Centre off 4th Terrace Collins Avenue. In Grand Bahama, call Lucayan Medical Centre at 373-7400 for an appointment.