Category Archives: Foot and Leg Health

Thanksgiving Travel Tips for People with Health Issues

Sihouette of young family with luggage walking at airport, girl pointing at the window

Halloween is over, which means we’re exchanging jack o’lanterns for turkey and pumpkin pie.  The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner!  Thanksgiving weekend is known for being one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.  According to AAA, last year 46.3 million Americans packed their bags and journeyed at least 50 miles away from home to spend the holiday with family or friends.

Thanksgiving weekend travel can already be stressful due to the sheer numbers of fellow travelers, but travelers with health issues may experience extra stresses.  So, if you’ll be among America’s travelers in a few weeks, follow these travel tips to help you have a smooth and happy holiday trip!

  1. Pack Your Medications – The last thing you need is to be far away from home and not have your necessary medications. Whether you pack them first or last, don’t walk out the door until you’ve checked your medications off your list.
  2. Pack Snacks to Control Your Glucose and Monitor It – Make a pack of snacks that will help you control your glucose level. Make sure you can access it easily or that someone else could easily get to it.  Bring your glucose monitors and pack them close to your snacks.  Monitor your glucose levels as often as you would at home.
  3. Pack Insurance Cards and Other Documentation – No one wants to have a visit to a doctor or emergency room while out of town, but it’s best to be prepared in case it does happen. With the proper cards and documentation, you can better focus on getting the treatment you need, instead of insurance red tape.
  4. Plan Out Time Zone Changes – If you’re going to be in more than one time zone, plan your snacks and monitoring accordingly. Also, ensure that you’ve accounted for time zone changes when taking medications or monitoring glucose levels.
  5. Pack Insulin or Other Temperature-Dependent Medications So That It’s Kept Cool Until Reaching Your Destination – You can use a wide-mouthed, insulated, non-breakable bottle or thermos to help keep your medications cools. Fill the bottle ice or cold water before hand to cool it.  Then empty the bottle, dry it and place your medications inside.
  6. Get Plenty of Sleep – It’s important to get plenty of sleep – even extra sleep – before a big trip, but especially if you are dealing with health issues while traveling. Go to bed early before a trip, or take a nap before leaving.  Be sure to get good sleep during the trip, as well, so that you’ll be in good shape when traveling back home.
  7. Put Medications and Other Necessities in a Carry-On Bag – Carry all medications and any other necessities in your carry-on bag. Just in case your luggage is misplaced, you won’t want to be without your necessities.  You can always buy another toothbrush!
  8. Pack Lightly and Use Luggage with Shoulder Straps or Wheels – If you suffer from arthritis or other health problems, you won’t want to over exert yourself. Make sure to pack as lightly as possible, so you have less to carry.  Bags with comfortable shoulder straps or wheels will also help.
  9. Wear and Pack Comfortable Clothing That’s Easy to Get On – Comfortable clothing will make you comfortable all around, especially if it will be awhile before you can change. Wear Seamless Socks from SmartKnit to help keep your feet from getting irritated.  Or if you’re at risk for DVT, Compression Travel Socks from Therafirm will help prevent this dangerous condition.
  10. Pack Any Arthritis Aids You Regularly Use – If it’s something you use regularly, bring it, even if you think you won’t use it.
  11. Carry Cash – You will want to have cash for situations like tipping luggage assistants or toll payments.
  12. Inform Others of Your Condition – Inform TSA agents, flight attendants or any other officials of your health conditions. They’ll be more likely to be helpful and also to watch for changes in your condition.

Remember at the end of the road is that special turkey and dressing or pumpkin pie that you’ve been craving for months – as well as hugs and smiles and family memories.

** Note: Tips are not meant to replace medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor.

Foot Health Tips for National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  As many diabetics know too well, diabetes can be very dangerous to your feet.  Because of reduced blood flow, injuries may be harder to heal, and infections harder to resist.  Nerve damage may reduce feeling to the feet making it hard to notice irritations leading to blisters developing.  Taking good care of your feet is one of the keys to staying healthy.  See the tips below adapted from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

  1. Get periodic foot exams – Seeing your physician on a regular basis can help prevent many of the foot complications related to diabetes.
  2. Inspect your feet daily – Check your feet for cuts, blisters, redness and swelling. Contact your doctor if you notice any of these or other irregularities.
  3. Wash your feet in lukewarm water, not hot, and with a soft washcloth or sponge – Only lukewarm water should be used, but feet should be washed daily. A soft washcloth or sponge will prevent irritation or injury.  Gently pat dry with a soft towel.
  4. Moisturize, but not in between toes – Daily moisturizing will keep skin from itching or cracking. Avoid moisturizing between the toes, however, as this can encourage fungal infection.
  5. Keep nails trimmed – Cut your toenails carefully and straight across. File any edges and avoid cutting nails too short, which can lead to ingrown toenails.
  6. Don’t treat corns or calluses yourself – Self “surgery” is not recommended, nor is the use of medicated pads. Visit your doctor for any of these issues.
  7. Avoid smoking – Smoking restricts blood flow, which will increase the chance of damage to your feet.
  8. Keep shoes clear of debris – Foreign objects, no matter how small, inside of shoes can be a major source of irritation. Always inspect shoes before putting them on.
  9. Keep your diabetes in check – Watch your blood sugar levels and keep them in control.
  10. Never walk barefoot – Always wear shoes or slippers, even at home. Doing so will prevent injury from scratches or cuts.
  11. Always keep feet warm and dry – Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain and always wear warm socks and shoes in the winter.
  12. Wear socks to bed – To prevent cold feet during the night, wear your socks to bed. Avoid using heating pads or hot water bottles.
  13. Wear clean, dry socks – Be sure to change them daily.
  14. Avoid wearing the wrong type of socks – Avoid tight elastic bands. Thick or bulky socks can fit poorly and irritate the skin.  Try SmartKnit Diabetic Socks.  Our socks are seamless and form fitting, which help to prevent blister-causing pressure points.  Moisture wicking fibers keep feet dry reducing friction, which can cause irritation.

** Note: Tips are not meant to replace medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor.


Avoid DVT During Spring and Summer Travels

Prevent DVT during travelImage courtesy of potowizard at

March is DVT Awareness Month, and with spring and summer travel just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to remind you of this danger involved in traveling.  So, what is DVT?

ID-10073024Image courtesy of Mister GC at

DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, or for those of us that aren’t doctors – blood clots in the deep veins, usually the calf or thigh muscle.  DVT can damage the valves in your blood vessels, causing pain and swelling.  But, more dangerously, blood clots can break free and travel through the bloodstream and damage major organs – most specifically the heart and lungs.  This is a condition known as pulmonary embolism.  Blood clots in the deep veins in the thigh muscles are the most frequent culprits of pulmonary embolism.

ID-100151625Image courtesy of phanlop88 at

How does this relate to travel?  Long trips in cars, trains, buses and most especially planes can increase your risk of developing DVT.  Blood flows more slowly when sitting immobile for long periods of time in cramped spaces, and gravity plays its part in making it more difficult for blood to adequately move around the body.  Slow moving blood pooling in the legs is a breeding ground for clots.

ID-10014939Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at

Although the risk of developing DVT while traveling is small, the risk is real and travelers should take precautions – especially if they are at higher risk.

DVT Risk

What can you do to prevent DVT while traveling?

  1. First and foremost. Wear compression hosiery like travel socks from Therafirm.  Therafirm makes a Men’s Dress Sock, a Women’s Trouser Sock and a Unisex Everyday Sock.  All of Therafirm’s compression hosiery is graduated.  Compression hosiery must be graduated to be effective in preventing DVT.  Gradient compression pressure helps to promote blood flow and prevents blood from pooling in the legs.
  2. Keep moving. If you are taking a car trip, make frequent stops.  For plane, bus or train trips, get up and move around every so often as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
  3. Exercise your legs. Bend and straighten your legs several times every half hour to hour.  This helps to avoid blood pooling.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Water will help keep your blood thinner and less likely to develop clots.
  5. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which thickens the blood.

Prevent DVT

No one wants their travel to include a stop at an emergency room or hospital, so take the necessary precautions to prevent DVT.  Pack your Therafirm travel socks and enjoy your DVT-free vacations!

** NOTE: Always consult your doctor before using any of the practices for avoiding DVT.

4 Tips To Get Your Legs Ready For Summer

Summer is fast approaching and especially after such a harsh winter, your legs could certainly use a little TLC. Arm yourself with these four tips to get healthier, younger looking legs so you can wear your favorite summer dresses, skirts and shorts with confidence!

Summer Ready!

1) Exfoliate and Cleanse. We lose 30-40,000 skin cells every day. You can imagine how important it is then, to exfoliate and cleanse daily. For smooth, clean skin, exfoliate by adding a small amount of baking soda to your shower poof while taking a hot shower.

2) Moisturize. Exfoliating can dry your skin out so be sure to moisturize afterwards. For extra soft legs, add a dime-sized amount of baby oil to your favorite lotion or moisturizer.

3) Simple Exercises. To get shapely, toned legs, simple cardio exercises do the trick. To reduce muscle fatigue and stay dry, consider wearing compression legwear like Core-Sport. While you’re waiting to get those legs toned, try soft, cool shape-wear like GOGO by Therafirm.

4) Sunless Tanner. Sunless tanning lotions can help create the illusion of younger, toned-looking legs. They can also help cover up splotches and pesky cellulite. Don’t opt for the tanning bed. Instead, use a sunless tanning solution that doubles as a moisturizer to keep legs looking and feeling hydrated.

What is your go-to for getting your legs ready for summer? Share below!
*This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.