When you live life on the go, you need your feet to be able to go along with you.
It’s hard enough having to skip out on a local event or cut playtime with the kids short because your swollen, aching feet just won’t cooperate. Foot pain that keeps you stuck in your hotel room when you’d rather be exploring the big city, strolling the beach, hiking the ridge-line—insert your ideal vacation here—is even worse.
Taking care of your feet while traveling, as you can see, can be extremely beneficial if you want to get the most out of your time away from home—especially if you have a history of foot pain or injury. We can help.
Here are some of our tips for foot care on the road.
Get Foot and Ankle Problems Checked Out BEFORE You Go
Far too many people with chronic foot pain use the “wing it and hope for the best” philosophy before embarking on a big trip. That quite often results in pain and not enjoying your travels as much as you’d like to.
If you have any reason at all to be concerned that your feet might not hold up to the strain, make some time to see us—as far ahead of your trip as you can.
Not only do we offer advanced treatments that provide accelerated pain relief and tissue healing (laser therapy, acoustic wave therapy, amniotic tissue injections, etc.), but we can also offer you extremely valuable preventative options and advice. If, for example, you need custom orthotics, then coming in at least a couple months before your trip might allow you to get them back and get used to them before you go.
Consider Doing a Little Training
This is another bit of advice for people who might be a little more sedentary in their daily lives, about to embark on a more physically demanding trip.
It’s not too hard to condition your feet to better handle weight and forces, if you start early enough. As early as you can before your trip, just start walking regularly—a half hour here, an hour there, a couple of times per week.
As the weeks go by and the trip gets closer, gradually increase the amount of walking you’re already doing. Go easy—you don’t want to accidentally cause an overuse injury before your trip. Just start at a comfortable pace and increase the duration or mileage by no more than 10 or 15 percent per week.
After a month or two, you might be surprised at how much further and longer you can walk without pain!
Pack Good Shoes
It’s honestly a little embarrassing how many times travel plans get derailed simply because someone didn’t think to bring (or wear) shoes that offered adequate cushioning and support for their planned activities.
If you need that spelled out a little more clearly: don’t spend all day walking around in flip flops! (We’re teasing, but you’d be surprised how often it does happen.)
We’d recommend you take along at least a couple of comfy, good-fitting pairs of shoes along for your heavy walking and activity days. Look for good cushioning for the heel, good support for the arches, and breathable uppers.
Having two pairs allows you to rotate them on alternating days, which can cut down on sweat and stink and even reduce the risk of blisters. Your shoes should be in good shape but not brand new—having at least a couple of weeks of mileage in them beforehand is an extra guarantee that they fit your feet correctly.
Also, this really deserves its own section, but we’ll add it here—don’t forget to bring lots of good, breathable socks, too! More than you think you need.
Keep Moving Even in Transit
One of the worst things about travel (if not the absolute worst) is spending hours on end cramped into a car or absurdly tiny airplane seat—knees smashed against the tray table, elbows poking both your neighbors (and vice versa).
Do your best throughout the journey to regularly flex your joints and wiggle your toes. Avoid sitting with legs pinched or crossed for long periods of time. If possible, try to get up, stand, walk around, use the restroom, etc. at least once every couple of hours, even if it’s only for a few minutes. This will help you keep the blood flowing and reduce stiffness and soreness.
Plan Your Itinerary Wisely
If your dream vacation is “climb Everest,” well, there’s probably not much you can do with your itinerary to reduce strain on your feet. But for most part, we’re guessing you probably have a mix of both more active and more sedentary items on your to-do list.
If so, try to plan out your days as best you can so that you don’t overload your feet. In other words, don’t spend 16 hours wandering around downtown one day and barely leave your room the next! Cluster activities in the same general area of a location together so you aren’t criss-crossing a ton of blocks every day. Try to alternate between standing/walking activities each day, and if possible have some good low-impact activities planned if you do need a rest day.
And of course this goes without saying, but pamper yourself a bit at the end of the day once you’re back in the room. Put your feet up (which helps with swelling) and give yourself a nice foot rub.
Don’t Forget to Pack Foot Care Products and First Aid
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to prevent them, you might still wind up with a nasty blister, cut, bruise, or other painful irritation underfoot. If you’re prepared for them, they might only be minor speed bumps along your journey.
What should you consider bringing? Here’s a brief checklist:
- Sunscreen and aloe vera. Don’t forget to hit the tops of your feet with sunscreen if you’re going to spending a lot of time outside or at the beach in your sandals or bare feet. If you forget, some aloe will help the rest of the trip be a little less miserable.
- Antibiotic cream and sterile bandages. First aid for minor cuts and scrapes.
- Blister pads/moleskins. Absolutely crucial to prevent blisters and/or protect them from popping or causing pain once they’ve already formed.
- Nail clippers, file, and/or emery board. Quick relief for broken or chipped nails.
- OTC anti-inflammatories. Good for any minor aches and pains, including swollen and aching feet.
- Moisturizer. Feet can get pretty dry after a long day.
It may seem like overkill to be carrying so much, but they don’t really take up much space—and when you do need them, you’ll be very glad they’re there!
Get Professional Help When You Really Need It
If you suffer a big-time foot or ankle injury during your travels—ankle sprain, severe pain, bad laceration, etc.—seek professional attention as quickly as you can. Look up the nearest podiatry clinic or urgent care center in the area and get there as soon as you can. If that fails, you can always call up the state podiatric medical association (if you’re traveling in the U.S.) and ask them for a referral.
Hopefully it won’t get to that point, however—because you’re smart and you take good care of your feet when traveling, of course!
If you happen to be “traveling” a little closer to home, of course, and you suffer any kind of foot or ankle injury, come and see our team for prompt care. We have two convenient office locations to serve you:
- Myers Park: (704) 334-8682
- South Charlotte: (704) 542-8253