Winter time is here and with that comes tropical winter vacations. A time when we shed our thick jackets, long underwear and winter boots for shorts, tank tops and sandals. All too often as Pedorthists we see people go off to their vacations and come back with foot injuries. There are a combination of factors involved in an increased rate of foot injuries during winter vacations:
- Squeezing everything in during a week long trip. Vacations are short so we all tend to try to get everything in during the time we are away. Unfortunately this often means overdoing it and increasing the pressures and strains on the foot structures.
- Wearing inappropriate footwear. Quite often people are wearing cheap flip flops or sandals or even barefeet for the entire vacation. For short periods this is OK but when you are wearing poor footwear for extended periods, or when you have poor biomechanics, then it can lead to injury.
- An increase in the time spent on our feet. When we are at home we have jobs and family commitments that keep us from doing physical activity all day. When we are on vacation there are generally no significant daily commitments. This usually means that there is more time spent walking, running or doing other repetitive activities.
- Unusual surfaces. Many people will continue their running programs while away on a vacation. During a tropical vacation this often means running on sandy beaches. Running on sand is not a bad thing when you are used to it. When you are not used to
running on sand it can result in injury.
Common vacation injuries that we as Pedorthists see are plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia and achilles tendonopathy. These are injuries that can take a long time to heal and can really affect your life once returning from vacation. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of foot injury while away:
- Prepare your footwear before you go. Be prepared to wear good walking shoes or running shoes for part of your vacation, not just flip flops. When you do wear sandals or flip flops make sure they have a supportive footbed and have been fit professionally. Talk to a Certified Canadian Pedorthist three to four weeks before traveling to allow time to get fit for appropriate footwear and properly break them in.
- Don’t change your regular exercise routines too drastically. If you are used to running on pavement then keep running on pavement, in the same shoes. You can supplement this with some running on the sand in moderation.
- Rest. Enjoy your time spent on vacation and do not overdue it.
Submitted by: Graham Archer, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C) Surrey, BC