When visiting the beach the sand feels so good between the toes and the salt water is soothing to the skin. We never think of the dangers that might be lurking outside with all that sun, sand, and sea. From playing sports on the beach and swimming, to walking in sandals or open-toed shoes, many summer activities put people at risk for foot injuries and infections. These can be even more serious for people with diabetes. Here are some foot safety tips when visiting the beach this summer:
- Wear shoes to protect your feet from puncture wounds and cuts. Sea shells, broken glass and other sharp objects when stepped on can ruin your day at the beach. Avoid the water if your skin gets cut – bacteria in oceans and lakes can cause infection. If you do suffer from a puncture wound, have it treated by a foot and ankle specialist within 24 hours to avoid complications.
- Feet get sunburned, too. Rare but deadly skin cancers, such as melanoma, can occur on the foot. Prevent skin cancer on your feet by lathering up with sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply to both the tops and bottoms of your feet. If you see an asymmetrical brown spot on your feet, let your foot specialist know. Don’t forget to check in-between the toes!
- Wear shoes to protect your soles from getting burned as you walk on blistering-hot sand, sidewalks and pavement. Take extra precaution if you have diabetes.
- Be careful with your footing while playing beach sports such as Frisbee or volleyball – walking, jogging and playing sports on soft, uneven surfaces frequently leads to arch pain, heel pain, ankle sprains and other injuries. It’s best to wear supportive shoes while playing beach sports. If injuries occur, use rest, ice, compression and elevation to ease pain and swelling. Any injury that does not resolve within a few days should be examined by a foot and ankle specialist.
- Remember jellyfish stings can still occur even if it’s washed up on the beach. Remove any tentacles that may stick to the foot or ankle, and protect your hands. Vinegar, meat tenderizer or baking soda can help reduce pain and swelling. Most jellyfish stings heal within days, but if they don’t, see a doctor.
- Diabetes Risks: People who have diabetes face serious foot safety risks at the beach. The disease causes poor blood circulation and numbness in the feet. A person with diabetes 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 isn’t noticed right away. People with diabetes 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.If you ever experience any of the above injuries, please seek treatment immediately. Make an appointment to see one of our foot and ankle specialists at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Center located in Howell New Jersey.