I have just returned from a three week vacation in which the majority of my time was spent walking. Here are a few things that saved me from pain and helped me keep going.
Good Shoes: I will never stop saying this. Your shoes must tie or strap to your feet so that extra tension is not exerted trying to keep your feet in your shoes. They must have proper amount of room for your toes. If your toes are squished you won't be able to take a full step and tension will develop in your foot, calves, spine, and neck. Your shoes must be flexible and free from metal shanks. Flexibility allows for flow of weight through the whole foot as well as more comfort while standing in the lines at Disney World.
Socks The first day out I did not wear socks because I thought they looked dumb with my skirt. Boy did I regret that decision. I ended up with the beginnings of a blister. I quickly bandaged the area and put my socks on for the rest of the trip no longer caring if I looked stupid. After all I think I would have looked a lot more stupid waddling around gingerly with blistered feet than striding around with socks on.
Self Foot Massage: Ahh the joy of foot rubs. Unfortunately it doesn't work as well on your own but it saved me from leg cramps (I skipped a day and woke up at 3 am with a charlie horse in my calf, I did not skip another day) Basically I just worked the arch of the foot, the diaphragm line (reflexively) and worked lotion into the whole bottom of my foot. I didn't spend more that 5 minutes per foot on most nights because I was tired, but those extra 10 minute of attention a day really helped my overall health and ability to function the next day.
Foot Exercises: Ankle circles are a life saver. They can extend your ability to walk or stand . Just simply rotating your ankles is amazing! Be sure you are isolating just the ankle and not rotating from the knee down. That will feel nice as well, and you can do it in addition, but you need to pay specific attention to just the ankle. All muscles that move the foot come through the ankle.
Do the Three Stages of Walking: This exercises all leg and foot muscles as well as the rest of the body and allows for the maximum usage of musculature, skeleton, and rest for muscles with every step. Making your feet, legs, and spine efficient and happy. Here's what the three stages look like:
One: Heel Strike, the back part of the heel should be the first thing to strike the ground. This gives the calf muscle maximum stretch and begins the flow of the spine at the sacrum.
Two: Flow through the arch. Flow should start at the heel and move along the outside of the foot until around the ball of the foot where most weight is then transferred to the inside arch to be directed out in...
Three: Toe off, simply stated the toes disperse weight pushing off, allowing the opposite leg a brief rest before it begins the process all over again. This is the stage most often left out as people insist on wearing shoes that confine their toes, or slip on shoes that add gripping of the toes. No usage of toes equals no added propulsion or brief rest in your step. To be able to do this stage of walking do not modify anything thing you normally do, just remind yourself occasionally while walking that "I have toes" it may sound corny but it works.
Your spine is also being moved in each of the stages of walking which allows for the spinal fluid to lubricate all joints and bring in nutrients to the cells and your central nervous system. Removing any of the above stages of walking not only hurts your feet it deteriorates your entire body, depriving it of blood, metabolic waste removal, and vital energy.
So begin your summer right and add any or all of the above to your routine and maximize your ability to see the sites. Let's celebrate a summer free of foot pain!