It’s sandal season in the Lowcountry. Whether you are biking, boating, fishing or relaxing on the beach, your feet will be carrying you through however you spend your time outside.
The last thing you want this summer is to be on the injured list due to a preventable foot injury. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prevent future foot dilemmas.
As good as it feels to stick your toes in the sand, limit walking barefoot. It exposes feet to sunburn, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm and other infections. Going barefoot also increases risk of injury.
Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, on the boat and to the beach to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections. They tend to thrive in warm, moist environments.
Be mindful of where you are stepping when going shoeless. Being barefoot raises the risk of picking up foreign bodies like stepping on glass or splinters.
Some activities at the beach, lake or river might require different types of footwear to be worn. 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.
A brand new pair of sandals often comes at the steep price of painful blisters. The sores form from the chafing that happens when a shoe rubs up against the skin. It balloons out and fills with fluid to cushion and protect the deeper layers of skin underneath.
Look for shoes with soft fabrics or leathers, and then take them for a test drive at home before you wear them outside to make sure they stay pain-free. You can also try lining any painful spots with blister pads or moleskin to prevent friction.
If you do end up in pain, clean the blister with regular hand soap, try to leave it intact, apply some antibiotic ointment and cover with a Band-Aid.
It’s imperative to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles. Reapply after you’ve been in the water.
To keep your feet from swelling due to heat, stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water not only helps with overall health but minimizes foot swelling caused by the heat.
Intermittent ankle, toe and calf stretches will keep your blood flowing. If you injure your foot or ankle, seek professional medical attention from a podiatric physician.
Dr. Jill Blau is a podiatry specialist at Coastal Carolina Hospital.