Nothing ruins a summer vacation faster than a painful or injured foot, but a few simple steps can help keep your feet safe and injury-free so you can enjoy your time off:
1. 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 need to run 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.
2. Wear socks with your comfortable shoes. Not only do socks protect skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, they can also keep you healthy. Walking barefoot through an airport metal detector exposes your feet to bacteria and viruses that could cause plantar warts and athlete’s foot.
3. Avoid bringing new shoes on vacation. If your vacation includes walking tours, hiking or dancing, wear worn-in shoes that support and cushion your feet.
4. Check your children’s shoes for fit and comfort. Make sure their shoes are not too big or too small, and ensure that they provide proper arch support and shock absorption.
5. 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.
6. Pack an antifungal cream or powder. Use an antifungal product to help prevent athlete’s foot if you are staying in a hotel or swimming in public pools.
7. Place a towel on the floor before entering the shower or bathtub. The towel will prevent slipping when you exit and will also help dry toes and protect them from infection.
8. Stretch your legs and pump your feet if you are traveling for more than two hours. This will help circulate the blood to prevent dangerous blood clots in the legs known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
9. Consider wearing compression socks on the plane. These can help prevent blood clots and DVT by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart.
10. Pack a small first-aid kit. If you develop a blister, clean your foot with saline solution, apply a small amount of antibiotic cream to the blister and cover it 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 infection and other complications.