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Foot Problems at the Beach: How to Keep Your Feet Safe and Healthy

Childrens feet dangling off a Hay Bale

As the days grow longer and summer draws near, it won't be long before beach time arrives here in the UK. With the sun shining and the allure of the waves calling, many of us eagerly anticipate heading to the shore for some sand and surf fun. However, amidst the excitement of beach outings, it's crucial to remain mindful of potential foot problems that can emerge in this distinct environment. From sunburns to cuts and fungal infections, let's delve into common foot issues at the beach and explore preventive measures.

1. Sunburn

Exposing your feet to the sun's harmful rays without adequate protection can lead to painful sunburns. The delicate skin on the tops and soles of your feet is particularly susceptible to damage.


  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your feet before heading to the beach.

  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

  • Seek shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

2. Cuts and Abrasions

Sharp shells, rocks, and debris hidden in the sand pose a risk of cuts and abrasions to your feet, especially if you walk barefoot along the shoreline.


  • Wear protective footwear such as water shoes or sandals with sturdy soles to shield your feet from sharp objects.

  • Keep an eye out for hazards and avoid walking in areas where debris or rocks are present.

  • Pack a small first aid kit with antiseptic wipes and bandages to treat minor cuts and scrapes.

3. Blisters

Walking barefoot on hot sand or rough terrain can cause friction blisters on your feet, particularly if your skin becomes moist from sweat or water.


  • Wear moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and reduce friction.

  • Choose footwear that fits properly and provides cushioning to minimize rubbing and irritation.

  • If you feel a blister forming, apply a blister pad or moleskin to protect the area and prevent further friction.

4. Plantar Warts

Communal areas such as beach showers or changing rooms can harbour the human papillomavirus (HPV), increasing the risk of contracting plantar warts.


  • Wear flip-flops or water shoes in communal areas to reduce direct contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.

  • Avoid sharing towels or footwear with others to prevent the spread of HPV.

  • If you notice a wart developing on your foot, seek treatment from a healthcare professional to prevent it from spreading.

5. Fungal Infections

Walking barefoot in damp, sandy areas or sharing communal spaces like public showers can increase the risk of fungal infections such as athlete's foot.


  • Wear flip-flops or water shoes in public showers and changing areas to reduce exposure to fungi.

  • Keep your feet clean and dry, paying attention to the spaces between your toes where moisture can accumulate.

  • Use antifungal powder or spray on your feet and in your shoes to prevent fungal growth.

While a day at the beach offers plenty of enjoyment and relaxation, it's essential to take care of your feet to avoid common problems that can dampen the experience. By following these precautions and preventive measures, you can keep your feet safe and healthy while enjoying all that the beach has to offer. So, slather on the sunscreen, slip on your sandals, and hit the sand with confidence, knowing that your feet are well-protected against potential hazards.


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