June 12th, 2013

“Two men enter, one man leaves!” was the chant that I remember when watching Mad Max back when Mel Gibson was a good actor and only thought to be interesting instead of completely crazy.

The summer and vacation seasons bring on alot of foot injuries and pain to many patients. Immediately flip flops come to mind. But is it the flip flops themselves, or is it something else.

1. Too much too soon: The Disney World Injuries.

Many patients come home from a log relaxing vacation and don’t understand why their heels hurt or their toenails are black and blue.  We ALL work hard, but most of our jobs require us to do a fair amount of sitting and grueling it out behind a computer desk. Then we go to Disney World and chase the kids around for a minimum of 22 hours a day.  Proper training is required for any activity, this includes walking.  We often don’t look at walking as exercising, but it is; and an increase in your level of activity. You keep up this pace for a 5-7 day trip, you should expect to have some discomfort.  Believe it or not, when you are gonna go on a long trip that requires a lot of walking; you need to get in shape for it. Light walking leading up to the big trip will make your vacation more enjoyable and foot pain free

2. But Doctor, I look cute in Flip Flops!

Most podiatrists will tell you the negatives of flip flops, and I’m not going to be different.  There are certain flip flops that offer you absolutely no support at all. Unfortunately, there are some feet that need to have support. That is my only problem. Certain people require certain things. If you have the perfect foot type that doesn’t require support, god bless you and your flip flop feet! If you start with your flip flops and don’t break them in: expect injuries. If you require the extra support in your shoes, look into a company called ORTHAHEEL. They offer orthotic like support without sacrificing style. (At least thats what my wife says.)

3. The Vacation Superhero

It’s always fun to go vacation and try something new. While we may work all day and come home and go to sleep when at home, the schedule of a vacation day can be alot different. 6 am yoga class followed by a 10 am tennis lesson (that you haven’t played in ten years) and then follow it up with water skiing for 2 hours. It will be one of the best days of your life, keep in mind, but you should expect to pay some taxes in the currency of foot and joint pain for the remainder of your trip.

What can you do? Prepare.  Strengthen your feet prior to your trip. Simple exercises like marble pickups and light stretching to the foot and ankle can accomplish these things. If you expect to be a vacation superstar, be prepared to come home and still be the same wonderful 9-5 pm superhero that you always were.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but a little prevention can save you alot discomfort post pina colada.

4. Skin protection.

How many times has your friend pointed out their savage tan after a vacation, and watched them limp away due to sunburn on the feet. When your lathering up prior to your trip to the beach (SPF 50 for me, thanks to Mom’s irish skin tone thatI’ve inherited), many times we forget to protect the skin on the top (dorsum) of our feet. This can be EXTREMELY dangerous. Melanoma does not discriminate. I have had an increase in melanoma in my office and this is very preventable. So don’t forget to cover them dogs up before you go out in the sun!

The summer is fun, vacationing is fun, it’s what we all work our tails off to do. Sit back and take a break for a few cherished days. Take the time and use your head this summer and protect, prepare and enjoy your feet. They’re willing to carry you, you need to be willing to pamper.

Let me ask you a question: How many of my readers have ever had sunburn on their feet?

Have a great summer, and will be talking to you soon….the Philadelphia Distance Run is coming up, let’s get training!


  1. HMV

    Excellent article and especially about the sunscreen. There are so many of us who forgot about our feet and pay for it in later on. You should post pictures with your articles.

  2. JCP

    Great advice all around. I’ll never forget the blistering sunburn I suffered on the top of my feet during senior week. Now it’s the first place I apply the SPF 50 before I hit the beach.

  3. Suzanne

    Excellent point about needing to train before going on a vacation! I told my mom to do that, she didn’t listen, and ended up with shin splits after the first day and was miserable the rest of the weekend.
    I wish that OrthaHeel carried my giant feet size! What cute shoes! I am the poster child for someone who shouldn’t wear flip flops…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *