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Barefoot on the beach

Last Modified: April 28, 2022

Family Medicine

foot protection

This post was written by Ashley M. Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, CWS, PPG – Podiatry.  

It's that time of year when many people are venturing out on vacation and traveling to beautiful places. Spending time on the beach is a fun, relaxing and peaceful pastime. However, once the vacation is over and people return home, some may inevitably find themselves going to a podiatrist due to beach-related issues or injuries. Here are some suggestions to keep your feet safe and protected. 

Protect your feet

Walking in the warm sand can feel good on the bottom of your feet, but the problem lies with what’s beneath. When swimming in the ocean, there may be uneven ground, sharp seashells, or creatures that could harm your feet. As a podiatrist, I have removed many foreign bodies from beach-related injuries, such as seashells, twigs, glass or sea urchins. For this reason, wearing sandals on the beach to prevent a puncture to the bottom of your foot is the best way to avoid getting hurt. Mesh shoes with rubber-soled bottoms would be an excellent way to protect your feet from harm.

Be wise when walking

There's usually time for leisure activities when on vacation, and, honestly, who doesn't like taking a stroll on the beach? Lovely weather, beautiful scenery and a bit of exercise. It doesn't get any better than that. However, despite these positives, the beach can be uneven, soft terrain, leading to overworked muscles if you are unprepared for the new stressors of a beach environment. To steer clear of injuries, try warming up before walking and wear athletic shoes to support the muscles of your feet. Also, be careful when walking on the natural slope of the beach. The foot closest to the water could be lower, throwing your body off its alignment. Instead, try walking in one direction for a portion of your exercise, then turn around for the remainder. This will allow the opposite foot to be lower on the way back, helping to even out the difference.

Wear sunscreen 

Protect your feet from the sun. It's important to lather up with sunscreen from head to toe literally. Applying lotion to the top and bottom of the feet is the best practice. Melanoma and other forms of skin cancer can develop on the feet, so it is important to keep your skin protected from the sun.

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