Whether you’re a curious wanderer, a relaxed vacationer, or a born adventurer, one thing’s certain—you’re likely to put some miles on your shoes when traveling. Unfortunately, all that walking coupled with the wrong shoes can be one of the leading causes of foot pain and sore feet—and it’s about time you found a way to avoid all those evenings laid out with painful and achy feet. If you are wondering how to reduce swollen feet from traveling, we’ve put together the ultimate guide chock full of sore feet remedies.
From heel pain to ingrown toenail, foot pain is no walk in the park. Whether you’re hitting the hottest tourist attraction or discovering hidden gems, you’re going to need your feet in tip-top condition. Explore the following remedies for sustained relief and long-term foot care. From stretches to proper travel shoes, you’re sure to be walking pain-free in no time.
TIP 1: BRING SUPPORTIVE SOCKS OR HOSIERY
One of the ways on how to soothe aching feet after work is to treat your feet to some supportive accessories. Before heading out on your journey, consider some last-minute shopping for a supportive compression sock for plantar fasciitis, tights, or nylons.
Wondering how socks can help soothe sore feet? Consider the following benefits of supportive hosiery:
- Compression – High-quality compression socks and hosiery can help you avoid swollen feet and ankles while preventing achiness throughout your calf muscles. There’s a reason pregnant women and athletes swear by this swollen and aching foot tactic.
- Blood flow –Wondering how to improve circulation in feet? With supportive hosiery, you can look forward to better blood circulation in your legs. That means more oxygen-rich blood flowing through your feet, which can prevent leg cramps or cold feet.
- Comfort – You’re going to be on your feet all day, so why not wear compression socks that can help you stay comfy? Made with soft textiles and sweat-wicking materials, supportive socks make a real difference in every step you take.
Plus, today’s compression socks and hosiery look just like other fashion-forward designs. They come in a range of men’s and women’s sizes and styles and can be worn with activewear, street clothes, and going-out attire.
TIP 2: STRETCH YOUR TOES DAILY
When you spend hours trekking along sidewalks, hiking up and down trails, or strolling through museums, your feet are working hard. All this jaunting around qualifies as a workout and should be treated as such.
Prep your toes for their next adventure by adding some stretching to your daily routine. Try out a few of the following toe and foot exercises to avoid soreness and pain:
- Toe lift — Take a seat with your feet flat on the floor and lift your toes while keeping the rest of your foot on the ground. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds before bringing your toes back down. Try doing a set of 10 for each foot.
- Toe curl – This stretch can help your toe grip while increasing your strength and mobility. Sit on the floor with a towel in front of your feet. Grab the towel with your toes and bring it toward you. After holding for 5 to 10 seconds, release the towel and try with the other foot.
- Toe spread – With your feet flat on the floor, lift the toes on one foot and try to spread them apart as far as possible. Be cautious not to over-extend your toes while trying this exercise.
There are several different toe and foot exercises to try, so mix and match to find a routine that works for you.
You might even try working it into your schedule a week or two before your trip. With a couple of weeks to practice, you’ll feel more flexible and limber when you hit the open road. Even just a few minutes of daily stretching can prevent chronic foot pain and soreness during your excursions.
TIP 3: KEEP YOUR FEET DRY
When walking around in closed-toe shoes on a sunny, humid vacation, you can expect your feet to get a little sweaty. This can lead to chafing, painful blisters, or even fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
To maintain optimum foot health and avoid infections, there are a few ways to minimize moisture while traveling, including:
- Deodorant and antiperspirant –It might sound strange, but you can actually use underarm deodorant on your feet to reduce perspiration and excessive wetness. Baby powder can work too, as it absorbs moisture. As a bonus, your feet may even smell fresher.
- Sweat-wicking socks – Hosiery strikes again. Not only are high-quality socks a way to ensure comfort, but they may also keep your feet dry and blister-free throughout your travels.
- Air-drying –When you return from your daily travels, consider finding a cool and dry place for your shoes to air out. If you’re traveling light and reusing socks, ensure they’re as dry as possible before putting them on. A sunny day on a clothesline is your best option if available.
TIP 4: MINIMIZE FRICTION
With flats, slides, mules, high-heels, wedges, or sandals for the beach, you might not be facing the issue of moist feet. However, these sockless styles can still rub against your skin, which could contribute to sore feet, blisters, and calluses.
Work to minimize friction by trying any of the following techniques:
- Petroleum jelly –Keep your sore spots from rubbing by applying petroleum jelly to your shoes and feet. Pay attention to where straps rub and don’t be shy—the more you use, the better covered you are to avoid potential friction.
- Inserts or insoles – Some shoes may need a little extra padding. While orthotic shoes are designed with form-fitting molds to prevent friction, standard shoes may be severely lacking when it comes to comfort. If you’re already dealing with sore feet and uncomfortable shoes, orthotic inserts may provide some relief.
If you’re planning on spending some time on the beach, don’t forget sunscreen for your feet. Sunburns can make friction and blisters nearly unbearable.
TIP 5: TRY A FOOT SOAK
Wondering how to reduce swelling in your feet? What’s better than a nice soak to soothe your tired feet? When you return to your hotel, rental house, or hostel after a long day of walking, warm water can do wonders for alleviating soreness.
Sit on the edge of a bathtub (or use a large bowl or basin if one is available), and dip your hard-working puppies in for instant sore foot relief.
Add some Epsom salts to your soaking bath for increased benefits. These all-natural mineral salts contain magnesium and sulfate and can help with:
- Aching and sore muscles
A cup of Epsom salt is a great way to elevate a foot bath, but if you don’t have any on hand, a simple 20-minute soak in warm water will make a world of difference.
TIP 6: PACK A PAIN-RELIEVING KIT
Bringing a variety of pain-relieving products on vacation is just as important as packing your toiletries. This includes the deodorant and petroleum jelly we mentioned above, but it doesn’t end there.
We suggest the following additions for your travel essentials:
- Antibiotic ointment –An over-the-counter ointment for wounds and infections is a must-have to prevent infections and encourage healing.
- Bandages –Pick up a few blister bandages. They’re small enough to fit in a purse or pocket, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up precious suitcase space.
- Moisturizing lotion – Avoid dry and cracked skin, and keep your feet baby-smooth. A daily moisturizer can keep your feet hydrated and ready to traverse the world.
- Ice packs and hot wraps –Wondering whether to opt for hot or cold? Try both. Cold therapy constricts the blood vessel and reduces swelling, while hot treatments increase blood flow, relaxing your muscles and helping you maintain a full range of motion.
Additionally, you may want to pack ibuprofen or aspirin. These over-the-counter medicines can help reduce foot or ankle swelling, inflammation, and pain.
TIP 7: PRIORITIZE SUPPORTIVE FOOTWEAR
Travel plans require preparation. That means packing the tools to help bring foot pain relief. However, preventing foot pain and foot discomfort while traveling starts with proper footwear.
Shoes take up a lot of space in a suitcase, but it’s crucial to pack at least one supportive pair that you can wear for a wide range of activities.
When choosing comfortable shoes for your next trip, prioritize these qualities and features:
- Soft cushioning – Imagine stepping on a cloud, or at the least, stepping on a very perfectly cushioned insole. A well-cushioned shoe, such as the Uptown Loafer, will not only bring comfort to your step, but it can also provide contoured arch support —whether they’re high, low, or in between.
- Deep heel seats – Heel pain is a prevalent foot problem during travel and everyday life. Shoes with deep heel seats can reduce pain on the back of your foot and assist with your ankle alignment.
- Stability – Supportive shoes help prevent putting all the pressure on the heel bone and evenly distribute your weight to make every step feel solid. In addition, ankle support can help you maintain a natural stride on any terrain.
Ensure even your most comfortable shoes are up for wherever the road takes you by investing in orthotic shoes. Not only do orthotic shoes provide all of the features above, but they also help prevent serious problems like plantar fasciitis.
VIONIC: TAKE A VACATION AWAY FROM FOOT PAIN
Don’t let foot pains put a damper on your long-awaited travels. With the foot remedies outlined above, you’ll be off to a running start, but if you want to get a leg up on sore feet, there’s one sure-fire way—Vionic.
We’re committed to preventing foot pain on vacation, at home, on the job, and anywhere else. With our Vio-Motion Support Technology, you’ll know you’re taking the right step toward comfort, stability, and protection. Before you fill your suitcase, send your unsupportive shoes packing and lace-up a pair of Vionic shoes.
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2. “8 Tips to Avoid Sore Feet When You Travel”. Twin Cities Foot & Ankle Clinic. Jul 31, 2020, https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-soothe-sore-feet/
3. Natalie Silver. “10 Home Remedies to Relieve Sore Feet”. Healthline. Nov 21, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/sore-feet-remedies#draw-a-bath
4. Elaine Russell, “The Best Home Remedies to Relieve Foot Pain”, Reader’s Digest Canada. May 10, 2021, https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/6-ways-soothe-foot-pain/