Your Feet Were Made for Sightseeing – Don’t Let Them Get You Down
Abraham Lincoln, our great 16th president, once said, “When my feet hurt, I can’t think.”
John and Jane Traveler often say, “When our feet hurt, we can’t explore.”
Statisticians estimate the average man walks seven miles each day and the average woman walks up to 10 miles every day. Imagine the increase that occurs while traveling. It’s no wonder our feet are killing us.
Most travelers don’t sit in the shade with their feet up. They’re busy sightseeing or enjoying the outdoors. They don’t have time for painful feet.
Here are some of the most frequent foot disorders caused by the increase in activity while vacationing, and tips from specialists on how to treat each condition.
Blisters are fluid-filled skin eruptions caused by friction from shoes or socks. Blisters should never be punctured. If one accidentally breaks, treat it as a wound and disinfect it with alcohol or Betadine. A mild first-aid cream and protective dressing should be applied to both broken and unbroken blisters.
Bruises are a type of closed wound in which blood from a damaged vessel in the soft tissues has leaked into a space beneath the skin. Stone bruises are caused by direct impact of a hard object or surface against the foot and usually affect the heel area. Use ice or a cold compress to reduce the swelling and control the further loss of blood under the skin. Moleskin can be applied to cushion the area.
Calluses occur as a buildup of thickened skin that usually arises in areas of extreme friction and pressure, such as under the bony areas of the ball of the foot. Use a nail file or pumice stone to remove the thick skin, and then soak in warm water. Take a 1-inch square of moleskin and cut a hole in the center wide enough to go around the callus. After the moleskin is on the foot, place petroleum jelly in the hole. Cover with a square gauze pad and hold in place with adhesive tape.
Corns arise when a section of the foot, usually the top of toes, rubs against the shoe for a long period of time. Soaking the foot in warm soapy water, then applying petroleum jelly and covering the area with moleskin will help prevent chafing. When the corn appears between the toes, soak, rub the area with petroleum jelly and place a cotton ball between the toes.
Puncture wounds happen when foreign bodies such as needles, glass and splinters penetrate the foot. Soak the area in soapy water for a few minutes, then apply ice for 10 minutes or until numb. Sterilize a needle or tweezers by putting the tip into the flame of a match or by dipping in alcohol. Remove the foreign object. Clean the area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic cream. Keep the injury covered with Band-Aids and soak daily in Epsom salts until the wound heals. Should the wound become red or hot, if drainage occurs or if a red streak appears on the skin, you should see a doctor immediately.
Some preventive measures can be taken reduce the chances of being stricken with foot pain while vacationing.
Properly fitting shoes and socks are the key elements in the quest for worry-free feet. Never buy new shoes while on vacation. Even the most stylist shoes won’t make you look fashionable if you face is contorted in agony.
Sneakers are considered the ideal footwear for outdoor activities. For travel in warm climates, chose sneakers in natural fibers, such as leather, so the feet can breathe easily. Travel in cold climates requires water-resistant shoes made of non-porous material.
No longer are cotton socks the doctor’s first choice. They do a good job of absorbing foot perspiration, but do not dry quickly. Instead, pick a sock especially made to “wick” moisture away from the skin. Wick is the magic word, and you will see it on the wrapping of this type of sock. Wicking socks are made of a combination of Lycra, nylon, Orlon and other man-made fibers. The notion that “one size fits all” is false. Socks in the wrong size will cause friction that can lead to calluses or blisters.
Start getting your feet in shape ahead of time. Rub petroleum jelly or emollient cream on any rough or scaly areas. Also rub petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your toes. It will help cut down on friction from footwear and make your toes less susceptible to blistering.
Knowing how to care for your feet will assure that your next outing will not be marred by the phrase, “My feet are killing me!”
Your can help keep your feet healthy and be prepared for minor emergencies by packing the following items in first-aid kit:
2 X 2-inch sterile gauze dressings
Roll of adhesive tape
Roll of 1-inch wide bandage
Tube of antiseptic cream
Tube of petroleum jelly
Alcohol or Betadine
Ice bag or cold pack
Pair of scissors
Pair of tweezers