Ouch! Nothing ruins a summer vacation faster than a painful or injured foot.
From the airport to your hotel room, there are steps you can take to prevent foot and ankle pain and injury. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offers 10 tips for keeping your feet safe this summer:
- Wear comfortable shoes to the airport. You never know how long you will 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. Sprains should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours to ensure proper healing. Many people suffer repeated sprains because they didn't see a doctor for previous injuries.
- Wear socks with those comfortable shoes. Not only do socks protect skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, they can also keep you healthy. 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 that could cause plantar warts and athlete's foot.
- Avoid bringing new shoes on vacation. They can be stiff and unforgiving. If you plan to dance the night away or do a lot of walking, wear shoes that will make your feet as happy as you are.
- Check your children's shoes for fit and comfort.
- Pack flip-flops or sandals, and use sparingly. Use them in place of walking barefoot in locker rooms and around pools, where you may pick up athlete's foot, a plantar wart infection or toenail fungus.
- Pack an antifungal cream or powder. If you're staying in a hotel or using public pools, using an antifungal product can help prevent athlete's foot. You can pick up some prescription strength spray at all Academy Foot and Ankle locations without an appointment.
- Place a towel on the floor before entering the shower or bathtub. This can prevent slipping when you exit. The towel will also help dry toes and protect them from infections.
- If you are traveling more than two hours, be sure to stretch your legs and pump your feet. This will help circulate the blood to prevent deep vein thrombosis, or dangerous blood clots in the legs.
- Consider wearing compression socks on the plane to help prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart.
- Pack a small first aid kit. Chances are you'll develop a blister from that long walk through the shopping village or scrape your foot on a piece of coral at the beach. Clean your feet with saline (eye solution works!), apply a small amount of antibiotic cream and cover with a band-aid or gauze. If you suffer a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for professional cleaning of the wound to prevent infections and other complications.