by Mark A. Green, DPM
Ahhh. Spring Break is here. Are you heading south to the warm ocean waters and sandy beaches as so many do each spring? The kids have been working hard at school, and that’s a good enough excuse to head south for a week, leaving behind your email and replacing your business suit with a bathing suit. Remember, your feet are going with you, and there are plenty of ways to ruin your trip if the idea of protecting your feet comes after sun, swimming and Coronas.
Sunscreen is your friend. Apply it generously and often. A mild burn on day one is enough to make the rest of your stay pretty uncomfortable. Not to mention the long-term risks of sun exposure, as continuing to take these types of get-aways is certainly high on our list of objectives. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget that the bottoms of your feet are facing that warm caribbean sun when you’re relaxing in your beach chair. Start with the bottom of your feet and work your way up when applying sunscreen. Don’t forget your kid’s feet as well!
And what a wonderful, soothing feeling it is to walk on the beach barefoot, feeling the sand between your toes and the gentle, turquoise waves rolling past your ankles. Until you step on a sharp piece of shell, bottle cap or broken glass. If you’re really unlucky, a jellyfish sting can certainly curtail your spring break festivities. I had the rare opportunity to surgically remove a sea urchin spine from one of my patients in my Kansas City podiatry practice several years ago. It certainly didn’t come from our local KC waters. Wear beach shoes when on the beach and in the water. Your feet will thank you later.
Lastly, if you are prone to heel and arch pain, and need custom orthotics for proper foot support to stay comfortable, don’t forget them on your beach walks. Without proper support, the soft, unstable “terra not-so-firma” will quickly undo everything that your inserts have done to keep your feet comfortable. There are plenty of sandals, mules, Crocs and other beach shoes that will accommodate your insoles and still keep your beach wear fashionable.
If you left your feet somewhere way down on that spring break to-do list, and you’re now home regretting your priorities, call your Kansas City Foot and Ankle specialist today, and we’ll help you get back to your land-based lifestyle quickly and comfortably.