If you’re among the more than 37 million Americans who have diabetes, you don’t want this chronic condition to shrink your world. Maybe you enjoy traveling and do so frequently. Or perhaps you’re getting ready to take a much-needed vacation after years of staying at home.
While the board-certified podiatry team at Optima Foot and Ankle fully supports your desire (or need) to travel, we do want you to take some smart precautions if you have diabetes. To that end, our wound care experts have pulled together a quick list of best diabetic foot care practices for when you travel.
Create a list of medications and contact information
While bringing your medications along is important, be sure to also make a list of these medications, as well as any pertinent medical contact information. Include the name of the provider who manages your diabetes, and also include our contact information.
This information can come in very handy if you lose your medications, run out, or experience any health issues while you’re traveling.
Get an ID bracelet that states your diabetic status
Another great idea is to outfit yourself with a medical identification bracelet that includes your diabetes status. You can order these from any pharmacy.
Pack a small first-aid kit
It’s always a good idea to pack a little first-aid kit for travel. It should include an antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, and adhesive bandages.
Get custom orthotics to keep your feet comfortable
When you travel, you might spend more time on your feet, so it’s important to be comfortable. A good set of custom orthotics that fit into your shoes is a great way to turn all of your footwear into comfortable footwear.
These custom orthotics take a few weeks, so please come see us sooner rather than later so we can take molds, send them to the lab for manufacture, and get the orthotics in time before you go.
Break in new shoes before you leave
If you’re buying new shoes for your trip, break them in before you go. Putting on a new pair of shoes and then logging miles in them is not a good idea if you want to avoid blisters, corns, and calluses, which are not good for people with diabetes.
We remind you that up to 25% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers, which are tough to heal, so it’s a good idea to avoid anything that can create an open wound on your foot.
Don’t plan on barefoot beach walks
Speaking of protecting your feet, the notion of walking down the beach barefoot is romantic, but it’s not a good idea when you have diabetes. Protecting your feet from wounds is paramount, and shells are sharp.
If you’re going to be around a public pool, make sure your feet are always protected as well. From fungal infections to broken glass, potential dangers lurk everywhere.
Check your feet daily
Just as you should at home, be sure to continue your daily foot checks when you’re on the go to make sure everything’s OK. You can do this at night, before you go to bed, and start by gently washing and drying your feet first.
If you do find anything, you can whip out that little first-aid kit and get to work on fighting off infection straight away.
With a little prep work and some extra precaution while you travel, there’s no reason why you and your feet can’t have an excellent travel experience. So, enjoy your travels!
If you have more questions about taking care of your feet while you're away from home, please contact Optima Foot and Ankle at one of our two offices, in Bend or Richmond, Oregon.