Before traveling, visit a podiatric physician if you are experiencing any pain, problems, or discomfort with your feet or ankles. Foot pain is NOT normal.
To condition your feet and legs, begin a regular walking program wearing the shoes you plan to travel with - include inclines if your destination has hilly terrain - at least four weeks before your trip.
Review your travel itinerary and the activities planned to determine the kinds of shoes you will need (should pack).
Take a few pairs of supportive, comfortable shoes, and plenty of appropriate socks so they can be changed frequently. Try not to take new shoes that have never been worn.
When traveling, periodically flex feet at the ankles, wiggle toes, unlace shoes if feet swell, keep legs uncrossed, and move around if possible (especially during airplane travel - get up and move around once for every hour on the plane).
Be prepared: in case of a minor foot problem, pack adhesive bandages, talcum powder, antibiotic or first aid cream, tweezers, and nail clippers in your toiletry bag.
If you injure your foot or ankle while away, seek professional attention from a podiatric physician. We often assume that if a toe is broken, that it doesn't require treatment. That is not true. When traveling within the United States or Puerto Rico, contact the state podiatric medical association to obtain a referral to a local podiatrist, or access www.apma.orgvia the Internet to locate a podiatrist.
Limit walking barefoot to safe, sandy beaches or close to the pool. Walking barefoot exposes feet to sunburn, as well as the plantar wart virus, athlete's foot, and other infections.
Regularly apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet.
Treat your feet well after a long day of sightseeing, shopping, or hiking: massage them and keep them elevated.
Reprinted with the permission of the APMA. (June, 2006)