Thanksgiving is days away and most of us will be gearing up for a long weekend filled with family, food, and travel. Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or car, this time of year can be especially tiring on your feet. ‘Tis the season for lots of activities that can put stress and pressure on your lower limbs. You might also be doing a lot of standing, walking, and sitting in one position throughout the holiday season. It is important to take care of your feet so they can carry you through the season celebrations. You don’t want to be stuck on the couch with foot pain this holiday season, so we’ve got a few tips to help you stay fresh on your feet.
When traveling this holiday season, be sure to consider your feet when packing.
If you know you’ll be doing certain activities such as hikes or long shopping sprees, plan to bring the appropriate footwear. The right shoe can make all the difference. You want your shoes to be comfortable with good arch support and shock absorption especially if you plan on being in shoes for longer than 2 hours. Your shoes should have a solid tilt for both the length and width of your feet.
Plane flights can take a toll on legs and we aren’t just talking about from lack of space. Those long flights can leave your legs with all sorts of aches and pains from poor circulation during the flight. Wearing compression stockings or socks will help aid in circulation and is especially helpful for those who have diabetes.
Thanksgiving dinner can take a serious amount of preparation time to cook. Some people start cooking for the big day 2 to 3 days ahead of time. Standing on your feet all day is guaranteed to lead to aches and pains, and with all those dishes to cook you might think there is no time to sit down. However, we strongly urge you to take breaks even if just for five minutes every hour. Sit down to do tasks that you don’t necessarily need to stand to do or ask loved ones to help out so you don’t feel as overloaded.
Investing in comfortable yet supportive house shoes as well as shock-absorbing kitchen mats can make standing around the kitchen for long hours less stressful on your feet.
On the other hand, traveling and sitting for long periods can be just as painful as standing. If you can, take advantage of your ability to get up and move around at rest stops or whenever the pilot turns off the fasten seat belt sign. The movement will keep your feet happy after long bouts of sitting down.
Stretching is a good way to avoid muscle cramps and fatigue. Stave off aches and pains by raising, pointing and curling your toes. Calf stretches can be helpful since tight calves are not only painful but can also tug on your ankle and heel, causing them to hurt. Rotating your ankles can also help your feet relax to loosen joints.
Watch your intake
We know it is not easy on Thanksgiving, but try not to overeat when the big meal is served. Excessive carbs and sugars can contribute to inflammation in your feet that may lead to swelling and pain.
If you suffer from gout, Thanksgiving can quickly become a difficult time when it comes to diet. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis and results in an excess of uric acid crystallizing in the body’s joints causing severe pain on certain limbs such as toes, ankles, feet, and knees. Red meat and even turkey can cause a flare-up, so be sure to limit portion size. This includes meat gravies and most shellfish. Alcohol is another thing to remove from the holiday diet as uric acid increases in the blood with the consumption of alcohol.
The best way to prevent a flare-up is to be aware of the foods and drinks that can trigger your body.
If your feet are tired or you know they will be after a long day, plan for rest periods. Take time to get off your feet and relax. Feet and ankles can swell from sitting or standing too much in a day. Elevate your legs to reduce swelling, lay or sit with your legs above your heart to give them a good rest.
Foot rubs not only feel good but are a great way to release tension, boost blood circulation, and refresh skin after a long day. Take time at the end of your day to massage your feet. Use lotion or a moisturizer to help avoid dry, cracked, and irritated skin from the cold winter air.
We will do everything we can to keep your feet working and feeling great so you can have a restful and enjoyable holiday season with your loved ones. Each case is different, and we know you are not just a collection of conditions and symptoms–you are you! We promise to listen and take what you say to heart and provide a customized treatment plan catered to who you are and what your needs may be. For more information on how to be pain-free this holiday season, contact Jennifer Woo, DPM MPH.