So you like to take a plane ride once in a while or jump on a train to the big city! Good for you! You got the travel bug. But travelling can be stressful on your feet. Healthy feet and good foot habits make flying or riding on a train easy. These 5 EvenKeel Podiatry tips can help you stay healthy while you jetset!
1. Get up and walk around more than you already do.
We all realize that sitting for long periods of time on any trip can make our feet and legs achy and tired. But even for young people it’s possible to degrade blood circulation, and swelling of the feet can occur relatively easily in a cabin or car. The easiest way to prevent this from becoming a problem is to get out of your seat and walk up and down the aisle a bit. If you’re in the car, pull off at a rest stop and get take a break. If you’re on a train or plane, walk up and down the aisle as often as you can.
2. Drink a lot of water
The blood in your body needs water to circulate well and good hydration is a cornerstone of health. Don’t forget to bring lots of water in the car or ask for it from your flight attendants while you are mid-air. It’s fine to drink other fluids too but limit alcohol consumption because it is a diuretic and will promote dehydration. If you drink caffeinated tea or coffee every day, you do not need to change your behavior while travelling as caffeine has not been proven to have a diuretic response in regular users. However, heavy caffeine intake can cause a slight diuretic response in those who have not had caffeine for many days or weeks.
3. Stretch and stay loose
Yes! You can stretch your feet, and stretching your legs and upper body help blood circulation to your feet as well. The more stretching in and out of your seat that you do the better off you’ll be, but remember to keep it light, with low intensity. You don’t want to pull any muscles or cramp. While seated in a plane or train, here is one good foot exercise (but don’t try to do these while driving!). Plant one foot firmly on the ground and lift the other in the air. Then rotate your foot in slow circles for 30 seconds and then switch feet and repeat until. You can do this while eating, reading or whatever it is you are doing while in that chair.
4. Don’t take off your shoes
One helpful trick is to keep your shoes tied while in transit. If your feet start to feel like they are swelling and a little painful, that’s a sign you need to get up and walk around. Blood is pooling up in your feet, leaving fluid in the surrounding soft tissue, and is not helping your heart – this is fairly normal and not necessarily a sign for concern, but the more you exercise or at least move about the cabin, the more you reduce the risk of serious conditions. Use this tip to remind yourself about doing number 1 on our list – get out of that seat and march around for at least 5 minutes – and the longer you can walk, the better. On a train, try walking the full length of the train in either direction.
5. Untie and Tie your shoes the right way
If you must take off your shoes, or if you’re going to take a nap the best thing to do before taking them off is to untie them very loosely so you can get your feet back into them later. Your feet are going to swell when you sleep – even if just a little. Later when it’s time to put on your shoes again it will be much easier to get your feet back into your shoes if they are really loose. If you have custom orthoses, a loose shoe will allow your foot to go back into the correct position relative to the orthotic device and make it easier to tie it properly. And for goodness sake, do tie your shoes! An untied, or even loose shoe while walking is a recipe for disaster so don’t forget to leave yourself some time before your plane or train arrives to properly retie your shoes.
When all that walking is done, check in on your feet for wear and tear and if those traveled soles need some attention call or request an appointment for Dr. Frank J. Santopietro at EvenKeelPodiatry! We’ll help you get to where ever it is you’re going next!