Foot Safety at the Beach

The beach is a wonderful place in all seasons, but summer is a perfect time to get our toes in the sand.  The warm water and fresh sea breezes are an inviting way to relax and step away from the daily stress.  It is important, however, to keep the safety of your feet in mind while you wander along beside the waves. 

Even though walking barefoot in the sand can feel amazing, it can be dangerous.  If you are going to walk barefoot, be sure that you are watching where you put your feet.  There can be sharp objects in your path.  Many shells are quite sharp, but there can also be glass or metal lying in the sand.  Unfortunately, we share our world with a few people who have no respect for nature or for other people and think nothing of leaving their litter where it can harm people or animals. 

A small cut or scrape can quickly become contaminated and grow into a serious infection.  A foot infection is an even greater danger if you are diabetic.  If you have neuropathy, you should never consider walking barefoot on the beach because you may injure your foot without realizing it.

Stagnant pools of warm water are a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.  Never walk through or play in a pool of stagnant water.  That warm water may feel good, but it is not worth the risk.

Something else to consider when walking on the beach is providing proper support to your feet if you frequently suffer with plantar fasciitis.  Instead of wearing flimsy flip flops, think about wearing an inexpensive slip-on tennis shoe with an added insole with adequate arch support.  Just remove the insole and dust the sand out of the shoes, leaving the insoles out until both the shoe and the insole is completely dry.  Allowing the shoes and insoles to stay damp will encourage the growth of bacteria.

If you have any type of cut, scratch or open wound on your feet or legs, you should be careful to protect the area from contamination from the sand or water in order to avoid infection, especially if you are diabetic.  If you have been to the beach and notice any sign of an infection on your foot or ankle, call your podiatrist for an immediate appointment.  Don’t wait until it becomes serious.

One more thing to keep in mind anytime you are in the sun – be sure to apply and reapply sun screen to your feet and ankles frequently, just as you do to the rest of your skin.  Clinical trials have demonstrated that consistent use of sun screen can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Time on the beach, walking in the sand, listening to the waves, breathing the salty air and feeling the sea breeze can be wonderfully restorative.  Just keep the safety of your feet in mind as you relax, so that you can hang onto your zen feeling long after you leave the beach behind.