It’s Summertime! Most of us made it through the cold winter months on the promise of warm summer days, barbeques, and eventually that long awaited, well-planned vacation. For many of us, vacation is a visit to a new or favorite location, where we can shop, eat yummy food, enjoy great music, and soak up local culture. What better way to do all of that than to leave our hotel rooms and walk around, discovering the town? It’s a great experience, yes, but it often comes with one pitfall at the end of the day – aching, blistered, screaming feet.
Even if your feet feel comfortable at the beginning of the vacation day, a long day of walking on vacation can activate foot pain that could stem from any number of causes –
- Flat Feet, which are the result of fallen arches, cause the insteps of your feet to touch the floor when you stand up. Flat feet can contribute to knee and ankle problems. Flat feet can cause serious pain in the foot and ankle which can worsen with activity, so it’s critical to have good arch support for walking. [i]
- Diabetes can cause a variety of nerve problems that affect the feet. When walking, a particular condition called motor neuropathy can cause the foot muscles to become weak, achy and imbalanced, resulting in callouses and blisters. Choosing shoes designed for diabetics is a very smart idea for everyday walking, and especially for vacation walking.[ii]
- Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It absorbs the stresses we put on our feet but injuries and overuse can inflame the tissues resulting in inflammation, heel pain and stiffness. Shoes with arch support and cushioned heels can absorb the trauma of bringing weight down on your foot.[iii]
- Foot Fatigue is very common and can be experienced by anyone, without any of the conditions listed above. Walking for long periods of time can simple cause foot muscles to become overly taxed and tight, causing you to begin limping. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too far when you begin to feel the symptoms of fatigue. Wearing well-structured, supportive walking shoes with a good insole will give you longer walking life and prevent greater strain to your foot muscles. [iv]
It is most important for you to pay attention to how your feet feel and react to all of your activities while on vacation, to avoid further or long-term complications like arthritis or chronic lower-back pain. Supporting your muscles and posture is an important step you should take, especially when you know you will be doing a lot of walking.
Checklist For A Foot Pain-Free Vacation
Stretching, maintaining good posture, and keeping your feet dry and well cared for are all excellent preventative measures you can take. And for vacation, when you are picking bathing suits and evening wear, take time to choose the footwear that is right for what you will be doing. These days you can choose fashionable AND supportive walking sandals, socks, and sneakers.
Choosing the Right Sandal For Your Vacation
Walking sandals are great for short or long walks as well as for hiking. Walking sandals are designed with the same features as sneakers, such as flexibility, support, and secure fastening. Choose sandals with adjustable straps that will allow you to position your foot properly and soft lining to prevent rubbing while walking. Make sure the sandals feel flexible and roll with your foot (gait cycle) as you lift it from the ground. The cushion should be thick enough to withstand the constant impact of walking for long periods of time and provide adequate arch support.
Choosing the Right Sandals For Your Vacation
When choosing walking shoes for vacation, cushion is key. You need shoes that will absorb the shock of your foot repetitively pounding the pavement. Be sure to purchase walking shoes rather than running shoes, because of their specific design. Walking is a rolling motion that begins on the heel of your foot, whereas runners tend to hit the ground mid foot. The location of extra needed cushion is different. Walking shoes should also be more flexible in the front and with a supportive shank in the midsole, to allow for a rolling motion. And they need to allow room for your foot to expand (wide toebox) as swelling may occur after hours of walking.
Finally, wearing moisture wicking socks with your shoes or sneakers will give you extra support. These socks are made with fibers that pull moisture from the skin side of the sock to the shoe side, to prevent blistering.[v] They will also give you another layer of cushioning, something that can never hurt on a long walk. Also, if you have a pair of shoes that you just love, but don’t quite have the right support – consider getting supportive insoles/orthotics that provide the necessary support. If you can remove the insoles in your current shoes, you can replace them with supportive inserts.
When you choose your vacation footwear, taking the time to consider the health of your feet, how you walk, and how much you will walk is worth the time. Once you have all of that in mind, choose a reputable company that specializes in footwear that supports your needs and understands how shoes and feet work together. Flowfeet.com offers options for every condition and vacation. Take the time to give your feet the support they need so that they can perform for you.