The recent heat wave has many of our Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC patients flocking to our beautiful Nassau and Suffolk County beaches to cool off and relax. Be aware, however, that there are dangers to your feet lurking at the shore. Certainly nothing on par with what you’ll see on “Shark Week,” but you’ll want to take a few precautions to ensure that your feet will be protected. Below are some common foot concerns at the beach:
Cuts and Puncture Wounds—by all means enjoy a walk on the beach, but wear your water shoes. Soft sand hides broken glass, seashells and other sharp objects. A puncture wound or cut can allow easy access for bacteria found in the water. Even it if doesn’t seem painful, you should have one of our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko check and treat a puncture wound within 24 hours to avoid infection and other complications.
Jellyfish Stings—not everyone knows this but a jellyfish that is washed up on the beach can still sting you if you step on it. If this happens, remove the tentacles (but use a towel or wear gloves to protect your fingers) and apply vinegar, baking soda or meat tenderizer. This should relieve the pain and swelling.
Ankle Sprains, Arch and Heel Pain—the shifting sands can be a strenuous surface for walking and can lead to arch or heel pain due to the strain on the plantar fascia (the long ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot) being overstretched. Beach volleyball, frisbee and other casual sports can easily result in an ankle twisting injury if you are not wearing sneakers or other athletic shoes. Do not attempt to run in the sand wearing flip-flops!
Burns—there are two types of burn risks at the beach. The first is from the sun’s rays. Protect the skin on your feet and ankles by applying a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen every few hours. Reapply immediately after coming out of the ocean. The other burn risk is from the sand and pavement around the beach. This can be hot enough to seriously burn your feet. Keep your flip-flops handy!
If you do sustain a foot injury at the beach or find yourself experiencing ankle or foot pain, contact our Valley Stream (516-825-4070 ) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office for an appointment promptly.