A Simple Guide to Post-Vacation Foot Health
When it comes to looking after our bodies, our feet are definitely one of the areas we neglect the most. We cover them up most of the time, which makes it easy for us to ignore them, even when we know that something isn’t quite right. Unfortunately, life can be pretty tough on our feet, especially if we work in the service industry, walk a lot, or often wear uncomfortable shoes. While vacations can give us the opportunity to relax and unwind, they don’t always give our feet a break. On vacation, we often wear new shoes that cause blisters, expose our feet to the sun, and spend hours walking around, all of which can wreak havoc on our foot health.
Luckily there are some simple ways to restore your feet to full health if you haven’t been so kind to them during your vacation. Take a look at some of the most common foot problems below and find out how you can help to heal them. Of course, if you believe you have a more serious problem, or if the problem persists, you should always get it checked out by a doctor.
Blisters are the most common foot ailment around, and they happen for the simple reason of ill-fitting shoes. Although this should mean that they are easily preventable, most of us still experience them relatively often, especially during summer. Wearing new sandals or high heels while on vacation can often lead to blisters, but luckily they are quite easy to treat.
Unless the blister is particularly large or painful, you should avoid popping or draining it. Blisters will usually go away by themselves without needing to be drained, although it can be tempting to do so. Blister treatments include applying a loose bandage or skin healing cream, avoiding putting pressure on the blister, and cleaning the area with warm water and gentle soap. If the blister has popped, you should clean it and apply antibiotic ointment to the area, before covering it loosely with a sterile bandage or gauze.
Calluses and corns are caused by repeated rubbing on the bony parts of the feet, including the toe joints, in between the toes and on top of the toes. They are made up of many layers of dead skin cells, and you may find that small calluses develop on your feet after a trip to the beach or a hiking trip. If still relatively new, these calluses can be treated at home with a pumice stone or over-the-counter medicine. If, however, they have been building up for a long time and are not improved by home treatments, you may need to see a doctor.
Your doctor may use a combination of treatments to remove calluses and corns, including physically trimming them, providing protective socks and recommending special footwear. Some more serious calluses and corns do require surgery, so make sure you seek help if you are experiencing pain or discomfort due to your calluses.
Bunions are a more serious but still very common foot problem, which can be aggravated while wearing uncomfortable shoes on vacation. A bunion is essentially a crooked big-toe joint, which causes the toe to rotate inwards and can be very painful. If you notice a bunion beginning to develop, you should immediately change your footwear to something less narrow in the toe. This can correct the problem as it gives your big toe the room it needs, however, sometimes surgery may be needed.
There are some online bunion correctors that claim to correct bunions by acting as a splint, but the evidence for this treatment method is still unclear. Do bunion correctors work? It seems unlikely, as they only appear to address the soft tissue damage, not the structure of the bones. If your bunion is causing you pain or affecting your mobility, you should always see your doctor, who can advise you on the best course of action to take.
Warts are another very common foot ailment and often develop after vacations due to spending more time barefoot. Warts on the feet are caused by a virus, which enters the body through tiny cuts or weak spots in the skin of the feet. The virus is often spread at swimming pools and beaches, so if you do have a wart when on vacation, make sure you cover it up with a special plaster, dressing or sock.
Most warts will go away by themselves without treatment, as the body eventually fights off the virus, but there are some at-home treatments you can try to speed things up. Removing the hard skin around the wart with a pumice stone can help to relieve pain, and over-the-counter medicines may help to speed up the healing of the wart. You should see your doctor if the wart is very painful, starts to bleed, multiplies or keeps recurring.