Summer Beach-Ready Tips for Your Feet
Summertime has returned to Wisconsin and that means you need some new summer tips for your feet!
While we strongly urge you to continue taking the necessary precautions to protect the health of yourself and others—wearing a mask in public, social distancing, etc.—we also hope you find ways to get outside, get moving, and enjoy the wonderful weather!
Of course, summer weather and activities also bring new concerns and challenges for the health of your feet and ankles. And the last thing you want to be dealing with is a burn, cut, or injury that puts you back inside … again.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you keep your feet in top shape with these summer tips for your feet!
Picking Out Summer Sandals
When the temperatures get up into the high 80s and above, most of us prefer to leave the closed-toed shoes behind and throw on a pair of sandals—especially if you’re going to be walking in sand.
That’s totally fine in most circumstances, as long as the sandals are giving your feet the solid support and cushioning they need. If they aren’t, the result is going to be pain and misery!
Unfortunately, it needs to be said: flip-flops are the worst. They make sense if you plan to be lounging around the pool or the backyard, or want a layer between the bottom of your foot and the bathroom floor. But you should never walk more than very short distances in them. They offer no support for your arch, and even force you to walk in a biomechanically stressful way just to keep them on your feet.
Instead, go for sandals with nice, thick soles, good arch support, and good traction. These will be a lot more comfortable after a day (or even half an hour) on the beach or the trail. An adjustable ankle strap is also a good feature, since it helps you maintain solid contact between your feet and the sandal.
What About Shoes?
Not everybody likes sandals, of course! While closed-toed shoes are not ideal for the beach, they may be preferred for most everyday activities, as well as summer athletic pursuits.
Give your shoes a check over to make sure they’re still in good shape and fit your feet properly. Shoes that are worn down from overuse can’t provide the grip or cushioning your feet need anymore. Sometimes even simple age can do this, as shoes that are never worn but left in the closet for years may still deteriorate. Shoe glue doesn’t last forever!
Shoes should fit firmly but not be too tight. You don’t want the shoe to slide around when you walk or run, but you also don’t want to pinch your toes or keep them from wiggling freely. The front of the shoe should be about half an inch in front of your longest toe. Measure your feet before buying so you know what size (both length and width) you should look for.
Make sure your shoes are appropriate for your activity. Sport-specific shoes aren’t just for the professionals—they help individuals of all ages and ability levels protect their feet and ankles from the specific rigors of the activity in question.
Also, since this is summer we’re talking about, it makes sense to have shoes with breathable uppers. This will reduce your risk of developing problems like foot odor or athlete’s foot. Mesh or canvas are good choices.
Rules for Going Barefoot on the Beach
As much as you might love the feeling of warm sand on your bare feet, it’s best not to rush out without a layer of protection for your soles—at least not until you’ve had a chance to check the temperature of the sand.
Even in Wisconsin, beach sand can reach 120 or even 130 degrees on a particularly hot and sunny day, and that’s more than enough to scald your feet. Of course, there are other potential dangers hiding in the sand, including cuts, scrapes, and even infections.
That said, walking in sand can have some beneficial effects, too, including skin exfoliation and even strengthening muscles in the feet and lower legs.
Just be smart about how and when you walk on the beach. If it’s a clean beach and you’ve tested the sand temperature, it’s probably fine as long as you are watching where you step carefully. On the other hand, if the sand is hot or you have a condition that could make it harder to detect or defend against injuries (diabetes, neuropathy, poor circulation, etc.) you should definitely protect your feet. Water shoes would be the best choice if you have any potentially complicating conditions.
Regardless of your health status or footwear choice, you should always clean your feet thoroughly and examine them carefully after spending time at the beach.
Protect Your Skin and Nails
Skin and nails can take a beating in the summertime, so make sure you’re treating them right.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen! Feet are just as susceptible to painful sunburns as your face, arms, and shoulders.
- Keep your toenails neatly trimmed. Cut straight across, and avoiding cutting too short or too deep into the corners.
- Keep skin and nails moisturized and hydrated to avoid cracking and damage. The best time to apply a moisturizer is after swimming or bathing, right after drying your feet. This helps lock in moisture and replenish natural oils.
At Waukesha Foot & Ankle, we carry a lot of great skin and nail care products from Bako Labs, including hydrating creams, antifungals, softening solutions, and more.
Why is this such a big deal? It’s because these products are high quality formulations that are superior to what’s available at the pharmacy, despite costing about the same. And they are only available directly from a physician’s office. So you can talk to us, figure out exactly what you need from the experts, and then get an exceptional-quality product that comes with our highest recommendation.
Don’t Put Necessary Care on Hold!
Even in ordinary times, many people tend to resist seeing a doctor unless their pain, injury, or skin or nail concern has become severe and concerning. So with COVID-19 still in the picture, we understand that some of our patients may be extra reluctant.
But at the same time, you should never be forced to put off needed care. Most painful or distressing foot and ankle problems will only get worse if you don’t get the treatment you need.
Our office continues to take extensive safety and health precautions to protect our patients and staff, including meeting or exceeding all CDC-recommended guidelines. Plus, as a small, private office, we can maintain a much safer environment than most other medical facilities, such as urgent care. Telemedicine is also an option for people who do not feel comfortable leaving home.
So if your feet are bothering you this summer, please give us a call at (262) 544-0700. We’ll help you determine whether an in-person appointment is necessary—and if it is, know that we continue to put your safety first.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and have a great summer!