Taking a Vacation

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Although rest and relaxation are the goals for most vacations, they usually involve a lot of walking. Unfortunately, a lot of walking usually involves sore feet. Walking is a great exercise and one of the most reliable forms of transportation. However, if your feet aren't in the best shape or you don't have the right shoes, too much walking can cause foot problems. Good foot care is essential if you plan to subject your feet to long periods of walking.

Here are some simple foot care tips:

  • Wear thick, absorbent socks. Try acrylic instead of cotton.
  • Dry feet thoroughly after bathing, making sure to dry between your toes. Use powder before putting on shoes.
  • Nails should be cut regularly, straight across the toe.
  • Bunions, hammertoes or any other serious foot problems should be evaluated by a foot-and-ankle surgeon.

The right shoe is also important to healthy walking. The ideal walking shoe is stable from side to side, well-cushioned, and will allow you to walk smoothly. While many running shoes will fit the bill, there are also shoes made specially for walking. Walking shoes tend to be slightly less cushioned and are not as bulky. They are also lighter than running shoes. Whether you choose a walking or running shoe, the shoes need to feel stable and comfortable. Warm-up exercises that are done before walking can help alleviate muscle stiffness or pulled muscles. Loosening up the thigh muscles and heel cords (in the Achilles and calf) before a walk is especially effective. If you're not used to long walks, start slowly and rest if your feet start to hurt.

Above all, have fun!

Dr. Vail is with the Advanced Footcare Clinic, Findlay. Questions for Blanchard Valley Health System doctors may be sent to [email protected], or to Weekend, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839-0609