Hit the Beach — But Watch Where You’re Going

One perk of a beach-bound vacation is looking forward to lounging happily with your toes dangling in the warm weather, shoe-free, with the sand at your feet. But alas, your dream vacation does come with its own set of tootsie troubles. Since we’d all rather spend time collecting sea shells than doctor’s bills, there are ways to prevent foot predicaments so you can enjoy your vacation:

  • Limit walking barefoot as it exposes feet to sunburn, as well as plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ring-worm, and other infections and also increases risk of injury to your feet.
  • Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room, and even on the carpeting or in the bathroom of your hotel room to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will not only help with overall health, but will also minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.
  • Keep your blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches. Take a walk and enjoy the view every few hours.
  • Some activities at the beach, lake, or river may require different types of footwear, so be sure to ask the contact at each activity if specific shoes are needed. To be safe, always pack an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes. If your shoes will be getting wet, they should be dried out completely before your next wearing to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
  • If you injure your foot or ankle while on vacation, seek professional medical attention from a podiatric physician. In case of minor foot problems, be prepared with the following on-the-go kit:
    SUNSCREEN! – to make sure that you protect all of your skin, including your feet, against the scorching sun.
    Flip-flops – for the pool, spa, hotel, and airport security check points. Your podiatrist can recommend some brands that are better for your overall foot health.
    Sterile bandages – for covering minor cuts and scrapes.
    Antibiotic cream – to treat any skin injury.
    Blister pads or moleskin – to protect against blisters.
    Anti-inflammatory medication – to ease tired, swollen feet.

Source: footprints – an informational newsletter for patients of APMA member podiatrists.