It’s the first sign of spring, and you are more than ready to blow the popsicle stand you call home and head out for some serious fun and sun. But before you get too excited and rush off to spring break parties, wild adventures or a family-friendly resort stay, take these common foot hazards into consideration and learn how you can avoid trip-ending foot pain and injuries.
Possible Problem: Swollen Feet
Common Culprit: Long drives and flights
Feet and ankles commonly experience pins and needles swelling during long drives and flights, and it’s usually due to lack of circulation. When driving, you can avoid sitting for long periods of time by making frequent stops either to use the restroom or to check out roadside tourist attractions. While flying, you should frequently stand up to use the airplane restroom or try doing leg and foot exercises in your seat to keep your blood flowing.
Sometimes foot swelling happens when a person walks a lot — during sightseeing, for example. This happens more frequently in people who are obese or have diabetes. You can help avoid this type of swelling by taking small sitting breaks and being sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Possible Problem: Blisters
Common Culprit: Ill-fitting shoes and/or foot sweat
Blisters are a very common vacation problem, with over 5 million people experiencing the painful liquid-filled sacks annually. Most blisters are caused by shoes that don’t fit properly, which leads to friction between the shoe and the skin. You can prevent blisters from ruining your spring break fun by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that fit properly. You should also be sure to bring several pairs of shoes on vacation so you can frequently switch them out if one begins causing problems. And never wear brand news shoes, as they havn't had a chance to get properly worn in and you don't yet know how they'll affect your feet.
Another vacation blister culprit could be foot sweat, which causes your foot to slide around and create friction. Try using talcum powder or an antiperspirant on your feet in warm climates to help cut back on foot sweat and resulting blisters.
Possible Problem: Achy feet
Common Culprit: Ill-fitting shoes, unsupportive shoes
Most foot pain can be avoided simply by refusing to wear unsupportive shoes like flip flops and sticking to comfortable, supportive, cushioned footwear. Flip flops and most other summer sandals are okay for a couple of hours at the beach, but they shouldn’t be worn throughout the day because they have zero shock absorption, meaning your feet take quite a burden — especially during long walks and days filled with sightseeing. They also commonly cause other foot issues like corns, calluses, heel fissures and plantar fasciitis, and leave your feet vulnerable to communicable infections like athlete’s foot and plantar warts.
READ MORE: 10 Reasons To Break Up With Your Flip Flops
Possible Problem: Lake and Beachside Scrapes and Cuts
Common Culprit: Broken glass, sharp rocks, jellyfish, etc.
It might be tempting to rush into crystal clear water without a care or worry in the world, but you should use caution when entering all lakes, beaches, rivers and other water sources. Things like broken glass, sharp rocks and stinging jellyfish can cause scrapes, cuts and injuries that are vulnerable to waterborne bacteria that can cause infections and foot lesions. You can cut back on the chances of serious foot injuries by wearing protective water shoes.
Possible Problem: Sunburn
Common Culprit: Lack of sunscreen or not applying enough sunscreen
While most people have gotten into the habit of applying sunscreen before spending time outdoors, many accidentally overlook applying the cancer preventing substance on their feet. The skin on your tootsie is just as vulnerable to the sun as any other part of your body, and feet can experience very painful sunburns and blistering. Be sure to generously apply sunscreen on your feet before going outside and also frequently throughout the day, as water, sweat and walking can easily rub the substance off.
Possible Problem: Sprains and Broken Bones
Common Culprit: Unsupportive footwear, not being mindful
Springtime activities like volleyball, rock climbing, hiking and other sports can easily lead to sprains and bone fractures — no matter how much caution you may take. However, you can reduce your chances of experiencing a painful break or sprain by wearing supportive footwear appropriate for the activity you’re engaging in, monitoring alcohol consumption and being mindful of your speed, body movements and surroundings.
Possible Problem: Slips, Trips and Falls
Common Culprit: Inebriation, non-grip shoes
Slips, trips and falls happen, but they’re more common during vacations for a variety of reasons including ingesting alcohol, traversing unknown terrain and frequenting slippery areas like the edge of a pool or a boat. You can reduce your chances of slipping and falling by wearing shoes with traction and being careful about the amount of alcohol you ingest around slippery, dangerous areas. You should also pay attention during sightseeing, as it’s quite easy to accidentally trip over a curb or cobblestone while lovingly gazing at palm trees or beautiful architecture.