Barefeet arranged in a circle standing on white sandSummer is here, and we're all ready to pack up our beach bags and head to the nearest lake, river, or even ocean. You've remembered to bring along your beach towels, swimsuits, drinks, and snacks. But if you have the sinking feeling that you've forgotten something as you traipse through the glittering sand from the parking lot, we invite you to look down at your feet. Are your feet protected on your beach day?

Here are 5 ways to take care of your feet at the beach:

1. Don't forget the SPF.

We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen. The sun's rays can be damaging and even dangerous. And that goes for all of your exposed skin, including your feet. Take a moment to apply a good quality sunscreen to the tops of your feet. If you plan on laying out, we recommend that you apply it to the soles of your feet, too. You certainly don't want to awaken from a lake-side snooze to irritated, red soles. Using sunscreen greatly reduces your risk of painful sunburns, advanced aging and decreased elasticity of the skin, and even melanoma. 

Fun fact: Close to 30 percent of the US population has tattoos. Of that 30 percent, about 25 percent of them have a tattoo on the top of the foot. The sun can be just as harmful to tattoos as it is to skin! To avoid accelerated fading and even ink rejection, tattoo artists recommend using sunscreen on any and all healed tattoos! 

2. Don't go barefoot at the beach.

First of all, sand is hot. The sun essentially bakes it all day long, and stepping on that steamy surface with bare feet can cause discomfort, burns, even blisters! Additionally, sand is a great hiding place for debris like rocks, sticks, sharp shells and even little critters! Stepping on any of these things with no foot protection is not a great way to start your beach day. If you are a person with diabetes or neuropathy, you might not be able to discern just how hot the sand is or if you've stepped on something sharp, and this can be especially troublesome if a blister or a wound forms. A few minutes of idyllic barefoot beach-walking is not worth the pain of puncture wounds or worse: infection. 

We don't normally recommend flip-flops in terms of sturdiness or support, but they are better than nothing when it comes to walking on the sand. Shared spaces like public bathrooms and showers are breeding grounds for fungus, so be sure to wear shoes into these spaces if you want to avoid fungal infections, warts, and other transmittable bacteria. If you choose to join in on a game of beach volleyball or even a good run down the shoreline, swap out your sandals for a pair of supportive athletic shoes. Sand makes it difficult to gain traction, leading to slips, falls, and even sprained or twisted ankles. Protect your feet, inside and out, by putting them in proper footwear. 

3. Water shoes: Do I really need them?three pairs of feet lined up on a sandy beach next to a striped beach bag

In simple terms: yes. Water shoes protect our feet when we step off the beach and into the water. If freshwater lakes are your ideal setting for a beach day, lakebeds covered in slippery, sharp rocks and shells are your feet's worst enemy. Water shoes prevent cuts and scrapes and help you gain some traction on slippery underwater surfaces. Water shoes are especially important for kids whose soles might be a little softer than an adult's. Protect the whole family and make sure everyone packs their water shoes.

4. Post-beach moisturizer.

Sand is an exfoliant. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to some pretty serious drying of the skin on your feet. Pack a good moisturizer and apply after leaving the beach. Avoid moisturizing between the toes and allow everything to fully soak in before putting on socks and shoes. Our holy-grail moisturizer for the feet is Urea Care, which smoothes the skin, softens calluses, and increases the moisturizing factors in your skin. If you suffer from athlete's foot, Fortina Anti-Fungal Cream contains urea while also being enriched with anti-fungal medications. 

5. Don't sit on the sidelines.

The best way to fully enjoy the experience of a great beach day under the sun with beloved friends and family is to make sure you're there to enjoy it! If a sports injury or heel pain is getting you down, get it treated sooner rather than later. Don't miss out on doing the things you love! If you are suffering from foot, heel, or ankle pain, give laser pain therapy a try! You'll leave the office already feeling the relief, ready to set out to the nearest beach to relax, play, and enjoy. Same-day laser pain therapy can help get you immediate relief!

Want to learn more about how to keep your feet safe, at the beach and everywhere else? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly tips and tricks backed by science and years of podiatric experience. Tired of sitting on the sidelines in life? Set up an appointment so we can work with you on a customized treatment plan to get you back to doing the things we love. Call us at 989-695-6788 or fill out our handy online contact form to learn more! A friendly staff member will get back to you within 24 hours!

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