Traveling? Take care of your feet and ankles

When you’re constantly on the go or caught in a 9-to-5 rut, vacations are essential for balance and well-being. Whether you’re exploring Europe for a month or simply taking a few days off for a New York City-style stay-cation, your feet and ankles are going to help you get there. It’s important to keep them in top condition to help you get everything you want to get out of your break from the daily grind. Here are a few things to keep in mind — no matter what kind of traveler you are.

The mountaineer

Planning on a hike? The views are beautiful and the workout is great, but the path to get to your summit might be less-than-ideal for your feet and ankles. To prevent rolls, sprains, and other injuries, be sure to pack the right shoes to help you navigate steep descents and rocky trails. Look for boots that offer great arch support and protect your ankles. Walking sticks and other aids will also come in handy for taking pressure off your joints, so don’t forget to load them up with your tent and canteen.

The sightseer

If your adventures are filled with city maps, art museums, walking tours, and shopping, you’re going to be on your feet — a lot. Along the way, be sure to take breaks (you’re on vacation, after all!) to give your feet and ankles some rest. To avoid blisters, calluses, and protect any troublesome hammertoes or bunions, ditch tight-fitting sandals and sky-high heels. In their place, pack along shoes that offer plenty of room for your toes to comfortably move and your arches to be as close as possible to their natural state.This is particularly important if you’re recovering from cartilage repair, a foot or ankle revision, or any other procedure where your range of motion should be temporarily limited.

The athlete

Destinations that include a workout are increasing in popularity. Maybe you’re heading to Hawaii for Ironman or Chicago for a marathon. Perhaps you’re about the hit the links down south. Or maybe you just don’t want to give up your fitness routine while away. No matter, you’ll likely find yourself doing your standard moves in a new environment. Have fun, but also use caution. Different climates make for different exercise conditions (hello, slippery sidewalks!), and hotel cardio equipment will probably vary from what you have at your home gym. Don’t push yourself too hard if you’re not feeling like your normal self; instead, take your time and enjoy your new surroundings.

The roadtripper

There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as sitting in a car with a full tank of gas and a destination or two in mind. Hitting the road is a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle, but being in a cramped space for hours on end can take a toll on your body. Take time to get out and stretch your muscles from time to time. Doing so will relieve pressure on your joints and make for a better feeling when you arrive at your final stop.