Tips to keep feet in tip-top shape while travellingSaturday, February 25, 2017
I have lost count of the number of times patients have had to visit my office as a result of an injury to or a problem with their feet that occured while they were on vacation.
When we travel or go on holiday, we tend to experience foot problems due to sitting through long flights, prolonged standing, and walking more than usual. Many of us buy new shoes when travelling, shoes probably chosen for its design rather than function, and our feet have not adjusted to them.
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your feet when travelling to ensure that you have a comfortable arrival and vacation.
1. When on a long haul flight, we often sit in the same position for a long period of time. This can lead to a deep- vein thrombosis, which is a clot or thrombus that forms in the deep veins of the leg. When sitting with the legs flexed at the knee, blood can pool in the deep veins and this is what can lead to a clot. This is a dangerous condition that can be life-threatening. To minimise your risk on a flight:
• Walk up and down the aisle regularly;
• Wear compression stockings or flight socks;
• Avoid alcohol;
• Drink plenty of water; and
• Exercise your feet and stretch regularly while seated.
2. Blisters and sore feet are common problems when on vacation. Think carefully about the shoes you are going to need. If you are planning on doing a lot of walking, make sure you have cushioned, spacious, supportive walking shoes. Try to have more than one pair so that they can be alternated from day to day. Also, try to avoid brand new, unworn shoes, as you may discover they rub or don’t fit properly.
3. Be aware of any injuries. Taking care of your feet means being alert to any potential problems and treating them, rather than allowing them to worsen.
Carry a small first aid kit that contains bandages and a means of cleaning wounds. Don’t put off seeking medical attention if you need it.
3. Eat healthily. Don’t eat too many salty foods. Be aware that new foods or excess of certain foods, like a lot of red meat, shellfish, rich sauces, and excessive alcohol, can lead to gout.
4. Getting swollen feet while travelling is a very common condition. Due to restricted movement, blood flow within the legs slows down so that it neither gets to or from these limbs at the normal pace. This leads to fluid accumulation around the ankles.
To relieve swollen ankles after a flight, elevate your feet above heart level for half an hour, three times daily. Move your feet around regularly as a lack of movement can cause the blood and fluid to stagnate. You can also ‘ice’ the affected area with a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel for 10-15 minutes. This works by constricting blood vessels, which shrinks the swelling.
Keeping your feet in great condition while travelling will help you to enjoy your trip and ensure that foot pain does not hold you back.
Angela Davis BSc (Hons) DPodM MChS is a podiatrist with offices in Montego Bay (293- 7119), Mandeville (962-2100), Ocho Rios (974-6339), Kingston (978-8392), and Savanna-la-Mar (955-3154). She is a member of the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom.
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