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Protect Your Feet at the Beach This Summer

Common Foot Issues and Prevention Tips

As summer approaches in the UK, many Britons eagerly anticipate their much-needed beach holidays abroad. Each year, millions of Britons flock to coastal destinations around the world to soak up the sun, enjoy the ocean breeze, and unwind on sandy shores. However, amidst the excitement of planning beach getaways, it's crucial to remember the importance of foot care. From sunburns and hot sand burns to cuts from sharp shells and jellyfish stings, beach environments can present various foot-related challenges. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the common foot issues people encounter at the beach and provide practical tips to help you protect your feet and enjoy a worry-free beach experience.

Walking on some Black Sands near the Sea


One of the most overlooked aspects of sun safety at the beach is protecting the feet from sunburn. While many people diligently apply sunscreen to exposed skin, the tops of the feet are often neglected. The thin and sensitive skin on the feet is susceptible to sunburn, which can cause pain, redness, swelling, and peeling. To shield your feet from harmful UV rays, be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed areas, including the tops and soles of your feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating, to maintain adequate protection throughout the day.

Hot Sand Burns:

Walking barefoot on the beach is a quintessential summer pastime, but it can quickly turn painful if the sand is scorching hot. Hot sand burns can cause discomfort, redness, blisters, and even second-degree burns on the soles of the feet. To avoid this common beach hazard, opt for protective footwear such as sandals or water shoes. Alternatively, stick to cooler, wet sand closer to the water's edge, where temperatures are lower and the risk of burns is reduced.

Cuts and Scrapes:

The beach may seem like a pristine paradise, but hidden hazards lurk beneath the surface. Shells, rocks, broken glass, and coral fragments can pose a risk of cuts and scrapes to bare feet. These injuries can range from minor abrasions to deep lacerations requiring medical attention. To minimize the risk of cuts and scrapes, watch where you're walking and avoid areas with rocky terrain. Consider wearing water shoes for added protection, especially if you plan to explore rocky shores or tidal pools.

Small Jelly Fish in a bright Blue Ocean

Jellyfish Stings:

Encounters with jellyfish can quickly put a damper on a beach day, particularly if you accidentally step on one. Jellyfish stings can cause immediate pain, redness, swelling, and itching, with severe reactions potentially leading to allergic symptoms or systemic illness. If stung, rinse the affected area with vinegar or seawater (not fresh water) to neutralize the toxins. Use tweezers to carefully remove any tentacles still attached to the skin, and seek medical attention if necessary.

Athlete's Foot:

While the beach may be synonymous with relaxation, communal areas such as showers and changing rooms can harbour fungal pathogens that cause athlete's foot. This common fungal infection thrives in warm, moist environments, leading to symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, and peeling between the toes. To prevent athlete's foot, keep your feet clean and dry, avoid walking barefoot in communal areas, wear flip-flops or sandals in shared spaces, and promptly change out of wet socks and shoes.

Plantar Fasciitis:

Walking on uneven surfaces like sand can strain the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot. Over time, this can lead to inflammation and pain known as plantar fasciitis. To reduce the risk of this condition, wear supportive footwear with cushioning and arch support, stretch your calf muscles and plantar fascia regularly, and avoid overexertion, especially on uneven terrain.

Foot Cramps:

Dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and overexertion can contribute to foot cramps, which are sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscles in the feet. Walking on uneven terrain like sand can exacerbate foot cramps, causing discomfort and difficulty walking. To prevent foot cramps, stay hydrated, replenish electrolytes, stretch your feet and calf muscles regularly, and avoid overexerting yourself, especially in hot weather.

Insect Bites:

Insects such as sand fleas, mosquitoes, and biting flies can be a nuisance at the beach, particularly in coastal areas with marshes or standing water nearby. These pests can bite or sting the feet, causing itching, redness, swelling, and discomfort. To minimize the risk of insect bites, use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin, wear protective clothing such as long pants and socks, avoid perfumes or scented lotions that may attract insects, and avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito activity times.

Protect Your Feet

A day at the beach offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment, but it's essential to prioritize foot care to avoid common pitfalls and potential injuries. By taking simple precautions such as applying sunscreen, wearing protective footwear, and being mindful of your surroundings, you can protect your feet and fully savour the joys of beach season. So, go ahead, dig your toes in the sand, and bask in the sunshine – just don't forget to give your feet the care they deserve


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