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TRAVELING IN STYLE : Side Trips : Beat Feet

October 16, 1994|Kathleen Doheny

Whether following in famous footsteps or wandering aimlessly about, feet can give out before the urge to sightsee does. Here are some tips to prevent (or at least delay) podiatric problems:

* Pack the right shoes and socks. "Take along at least one good pair of walking shoes that are comfortably broken in," says Suzanne Felson, a podiatrist in Los Alamitos and Seal Beach. Athletic shoes are a great choice. Sandals can be OK, too, if they are not flimsy, says Franklin Kase, a Burbank podiatrist and secretary of the Los Angeles County Podiatric Medical Society. "Wear sandals with a strap around the heel," he advises. "Pick acrylic-blend socks with fibers that wick away moisture," Felson adds. Cushioned insoles, available over-the-counter, can also keep you mobile longer.

* Assemble a podiatric first-aid kit. Include moleskin, bandages, antiseptic cream, baby powder or cornstarch, a sterile lancet, an antifungal cream (if prone to athlete's foot) and a good moisturizer.

* Pamper your feet en route. While flying, elevate your feet, if possible, to minimize swelling. "Every hour, get up and walk the aisles," Kase advises. He adds that it's fine to slip your shoes off--as long as you elevate your feet and wiggle your toes around several times an hour to keep the circulation going.

* Learn podiatric first aid. If feet or lower limbs become sore, ice the area immediately, Kase says. Use an ice pack for 15 or 20 minutes every hour. (Travelers with diabetes or other health problems should seek their doctor's advice.) If a blister is bothersome, use a sterile lancet to make a quarter-inch incision, Kase says. "Drain the fluid and clean the area with soap and water. Apply an antiseptic ointment and bandage."

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