Living on the road causes a few health issues with people’s feet. One common problem is circulation in the legs and feet. If the person sits for long periods of time without getting up to walk, such as on a very long drive, he or she can suffer from blood clots which can slow down or prevent circulation to the feet. The symptoms of this condition can be pain in the calves or feet, coldness or numbness in the toes, swelling of the feet, pins and needles sensations in the feet and redness of the toes. This is a serious condition that if allowed to continue untreated, can result in gangrenous feet and amputation. Travelers should keep the circulation moving by stopping to stretch from time to time and keeping the legs moving even while driving.
Corns are a constant concern, especially with tight fitting shoes. If they are uncomfortable to walk in, they aren’t good for sitting in either, particularly on a long journey. Change into larger, comfier shoes at the first opportunity and avoid those pinching problems that result in bone deformities in the feet. Hammer toes are one symptom of wearing too tight shoes and they can be very painful so it’s important to wear shoes that fit properly at all times, especially when traveling. People with diabetes need to have unrestricted blood flow to their feet if possible, so wearing restrictive shoes and socks that pinch, can result in problems with the feet for people with this condition.
Athletes foot and toenail fungus are problems that can occur while driving for long periods of time. Basically these conditions result from not washing the feet enough and not changing the socks and shoes often enough. The retired traveler should spend a little time barefoot between driving sessions to air out the skin of the feet. Sweat can accumulate in the folds between the toes, which can result in bacterial infections that cause itching and irritation, such as athlete’s foot. Toenail fungus results from moisture being trapped against the skin and if the feet have lowered circulation as some elderly people have, the situation becomes worse as the body can’t detect the problem as easily. Visiting a podiatrist for all foot symptoms while on the road is an excellent choice to help prevent reoccurrences.
Ingrown toenails cause considerable pain due to the pinching and cutting into the flesh that happens with improperly formed toenails. The nail digs into the surrounding skin rather than simply sitting on top of it and the result can be serious infections. Once again, this problem can be exacerbated by wearing tight shoes, where the toes are restricted in their movements. If the toes are restricted, the toenails are probably going to become malformed at some point. This can be treated by visiting a podiatrist and also by keeping the nails trimmed closely at all times. Cutting the nails straight across and giving them time to heal before hitting the road again is helpful.