It’s not only flying that can give us grief in some of the most sensitive parts of our body, our feet, but nothing can ruin a trip or holiday faster than painful or injured feet.
The following are tried and true remedies to help you take care of your feet in various situations:
- Wear comfortable shoes to the airport – you never know how long you’ll wait in line, how far you’ll walk to the terminal or gate, or if you must make that mad dash to make a connecting flight.
- Yes, loose-fitting flip-flops or sandals can make it easier to get through the long security lines, however, they also can increase your risk of tripping, falling and spraining your ankle. If you have the unfortunate experience of a sprain, it should be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours to ensure proper healing. Many people suffer repeated sprains because they didn’t see a doctor for previous injuries.
- Wear socks with comfortable shoes. Not only do socks protect skin from shoe friction that can cause blisters and calluses, they can also keep you healthy because you’re required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detectors at airports. Walking barefoot through an airport exposes your feet to bacteria and viruses that could cause plantar warts, athlete’s foot and Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) infection.
IMPORTANT NOTE: C. diff organisms survive on hard surfaces so scrub all surfaces including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails. C. diff spores are highly resistant to cleaning agents and will live between 70-90 days outside the body and are only killed by cleaning agents containing chlorine bleach or silver hydrosol*.
Because diseases like C. diff survive so long on hard surfaces, it is always recommended you remove shoes before entering your home. Additionally, use caution and proactive measures if you have pets that are allowed outside. Wipe their feet/paws with a solution of silver hydrosol before allowing them to roam in the house.
C. diff infection is a bacterium that causes mild to life-threatening forms of diarrhea. The infection most commonly affects people who have recently been treated with antibiotics and can easily spread to others. Educate yourselves about this potentially deadly bacterium, the C. diff foundation is a reliable source, visit their website.
- Avoid bringing new shoes on vacation. While you may have picked out that perfect pair of shoes for your vacation, a new pair of shoes can be stiff and unforgiving. If you plan to dance the night away, or do a lot of walking, wear shoes that will make your feet as happy as you are.
- Pack flip-flops or sandals, and use sparingly. Use them in place of walking barefoot in locker rooms, around pools and on the beach; places where you may pick up athlete’s foot, a plantar wart infection, C. diff infection, toenail fungus or a cut from a hidden object in the sand.
- Pack a bottle of homeopathic silver hydrosol* (which is my go-to natural antibiotic, it’s not your typical colloidal silver). If you’re staying in a hotel or using public pools, using a silver hydrosol product acts as an antifungal that can help prevent athlete’s foot. If you’re traveling in a foreign country and contract a case of “Athlete’s Foot” it may be hard to find a suitable natural antibiotic or antifungal cream.
- If you are traveling more than two hours, be sure to stretch your legs and bend your ankles and knees back and forth several times per hour. This helps circulate the blood to prevent deep vein thrombosis, or dangerous blood clots in the legs that could travel to your lungs (pulmonary thrombosis). For those with a history of lower leg swelling you should consider wearing compression socks on the plane to help prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis by pushing the blood through the legs and back to the lungs and heart. Make sure the socks are properly fit, it’s best to get them at a medical supply outlet and make sure the fit corresponds to the circumference of the largest part of the calf of your leg.
- Pack a small first aid kit*. Chances are you’ll develop a blister from that long walk through the shopping village or scrape your foot on a piece of coral at the beach. Clean your feet with saline (eye solution), generously apply silver hydrosol* to the affected area and cover with a band-aid or gauze; clean and reapply silver hydrosol* at least twice more during the day until affected area is healed.
- If you suffer a puncture wound, first clean the area with silver hydrosol* then see a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for professional cleaning of the wound to prevent infections and other complications, if the source of puncture is rusty or obviously contaminated you should ask if a tetanus vaccination is warranted.
- Don’t overindulge in holiday cheer— your feet may pay the price. Certain foods and beverages high in purines, such as shellfish, red meat, red wine and beer can trigger extremely painful gout attacks, a condition when uric acid builds up and crystallizes in and around your joints. Oftentimes, it’s the big toe that is affected first since the toe is the coolest part of the body and uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes. I’ve witnessed the results of an acute gout attack when a male patient weighing 240 lbs. and 6 feet tall came to his knees in my clinic in excruciating pain after a week vacation of daily drinking, red meat every day and plenty of shellfish since he was on a cruise and island excursion.
- Be pedicure-safety conscious! Before you head for your pre-vacation pedicure, remember nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria, including MRSA. To reduce your risk of infection, choose a salon that follows proper sanitation practices and is licensed by the state. Consider purchasing your own pedicure instruments to bring along to your appointment. NOTE: Since I’ve been the victim of contracting MRSA in the surgery room of a plastic surgeon when all I had done was the removal of two moles, I am adamant about sterilization. I have my own set of manicure/pedicure instruments and, in addition, I purchased a small plastic dishpan that fits perfectly into the mini whirlpool of the pedicure chairs that have that feature. Think about it, they only clean the outside of the basin with an antibacterial cleaner…what about all those dead skin cells and bacteria that are still recirculating within the whirlpool jets? NOT something any of us should be exposed to. By simply filling the plastic tub with water, you avoid whatever is “brewing” in the water jet system. If a spa has the individual glass bowels for feet soaking I’m okay with that but still prefer to bring my own insert for whatever device is being used – this illustration does not infer or suggest that the photo of this specific device is health-depleting but rather used as an example of a device that has recirculating water. See photo below for example of device described.
- “Listen” to your feet – foot pain is NOT normal. If you participate in new activities while on vacation or on a trip and develop foot pain, carefully inspect your feet for any evidence of ingrown toenails, bruising, swelling, blisters, dry skin, calluses or an infection. If you notice any pain, swelling or signs of problems, address the issue the best you can and make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon immediately upon your return.
- If you’ll be walking extensively and you’re not conditioned, take some homeopathic Arnica ointment with you – it could mean the difference between enjoying your trip or being in miserable pain. Arnica ointment is available otc in health stores and pharmacies that carry Homeopathics. It is one of the first things I pack into my first response kit. Arnica is used for any condition that is traumatized in soft tissue, muscles, tendons and ligaments (bruises and trauma), it is not for open wounds.
- Homeopathic silver hydrosol is “Argentyn 23” and eliminates bacteria, viruses and fungus. It acts as a natural antibiotic and is totally non-toxic. It comes in a gel (which is great for wounds), liquid and nasal spray. I use the nasal spray (4-5 sprays in each nostril and inhale deeply with head tilted back until you feel it run down your throat) before I fly, every hour during flights and several times the day of arrival to protect myself from all the airborne toxins we inhale in public places with recirculating air. It has no taste so children don’t usually resist taking it or using it topically because it’s in spring water, not alcohol. Always keep Homeopathics out of direct sunlight and heat to maintain maximum potency. In your carry-on luggage it’s fine as long as you’re not exposing it to temperatures higher than normal body temperature.
To order go to: www.naturalrejuvenation.solutions or call Toll-free in the U.S. and Canada (888) 352-8175 (Mon. – Thurs. 8: to 2: Pacific Time, Closed Friday).
- Be sure to pack a bottle of saline solution.
- Pack a tube or jar of Arnica ointment for non-puncture wounds and soreness.