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This summer: Protect feet from the heat

on the beachOne perk of a beach-bound vacation is knowing you can lounge happily with your toes dangling in the warm weather, shoe-free with the sand at your feet. But alas, this idyllic setting does come with its own set of tootsie troubles.

“Even lying on your back soaking up the rays, your feet are still vulnerable,” says American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) member Jane Andersen, DPM. “You can seriously sunburn your feet, and no matter how upscale your hotel, athlete’s foot can lurk in all public pool areas.”

Wouldn’t you rather spend  time collecting sea shells instead of doctor bills? Luckily, there are ways to prevent foot predicaments so you can enjoy barefoot  bliss:

  • Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room, and even on the carpeting or in the bathroom of your hotel room, to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles, and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water.
  • Limit walking barefoot as it exposes feet to sunburn, as well as plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm and other infections, and also increases the risk of injury to your feet.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water will not only help with overall health, but will also minimize any foot swelling caused  by the heat.
  • Keep blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches.
  • Activities at the beach, lake, or river may require different types of footwear, so be sure to ask the contact at each activity if specific shoes are needed.
  • If your shoes get wet, make sure they have dried out completely before your next wear to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
  • If you injure your foot or ankle while on vacation, seek professional medical attention from a podiatric physician. Many often only contact a doctor when something  is broken or sprained, but a podiatrist can begin treating your ailment immediately while you’re away from home. You can find an APMA podiatrist in your travel area by visiting www.apma.org.