As summer approaches, I enjoy going to the beach for fun in the sun. Proper foot care at the beach is important as there are some risks. Below are some of the common problems that can occur during a day at the beach.
Puncture wounds and cuts on your feet: Wear shoes to protect your feet from puncture wounds and cuts caused by seashells, broken glass, and other sharp objects. Do not go in the water if your skin gets cut as bacteria in oceans and lakes can cause infection. To avoid any complications from a puncture wound or cut, it is best to schedule an appointment with your podiatrist for treatment within 24 hours.
Jellyfish stings on your feet: It is important to know that a jellyfish washed up on the beach can still sting if you step on it. If their tentacles stick to the foot or ankle, remove them, but protect your hands from getting stung too. Vinegar, meat tenderizer, or baking soda reduce pain and swelling. Most jellyfish stings will heal within days, but if they are still causing symptoms then medical treatment is required.
Stingray Injuries: Stingrays live on the sandy ocean floor and when stepped on they can cause injuries by envenomation, laceration, retained spike fragments, and secondary bacterial infection. If bitten, cleanse the lower extremity in the water, stop bleeding, soak the wound in hot water for pain relief, scrub the wound, and follow up with your podiatrist. Call 911 if you have a severe allergic reaction.
Sunburns on your feet: Feet can get sunburned too. Rare but deadly skin cancers can occur on the foot. Do not forget to apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet. An SPF of 30 or higher is recommended. Also, it is important to reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes or after getting out of the water. If any new lesions develop, or an existing one changes, then it is important to have it examined by your podiatrist.
Burns on the bottom of your feet: The sand, sidewalks, and paved surfaces can get hot in the summer sun. It is important to wear shoes to protect the bottom of your feet from getting burned. This is especially important if you have diabetes or foot neuropathy.
Ankle injuries, Arch and Heel Pain: Walking, jogging, and playing sports on soft, uneven surfaces like sand frequently leads to arch pain, heel pain, ankle sprains, and other injuries. Proper athletic shoes provide the heel cushioning and arch support that flip-flops and sandals lack. If injuries occur: use rest, ice, compression, and elevation to ease pain and swelling. Any sprain or new onset of pain developed from a beach activity should be examined by your podiatrist for the best outcomes and fastest healing times.The Top 4 Signs Your Ankle Injury is Serious
Plantar Warts, Toe-Nail Fungus, and Athlete’s Foot: Many beaches have shared public restrooms, walkways, or paved areas. HPV is the virus that causes plantar warts and dermatophytes which cause fungus in toenails and athlete’s foot, like warm and wet environments. It is important to clean and dry your feet when getting out of the ocean and wear shoes while walking in shared spaces.
Diabetes risks to your feet: Diabetes causes poor blood circulation and numbness in the feet. A diabetic may not feel pain from a cut, puncture wound, or burn. Any type of skin break on a diabetic foot has the potential to get infected and ulcerate if it is not noticed right away. Diabetics should always wear shoes to the beach and remove them regularly to check for foreign objects like sand and shells that can cause sores, ulcers, and infections.
For evaluation and treatment of any beach-related foot injuries, contact Sol Foot & Ankle Centers for an appointment.
Keep your feet protected with the top recommendations from our Foot Doctors