For many of us the summer is coming, beautiful long hot days, the sun is inviting and is beckoning us to come outside and play.
Those lovely days spent splashing in pools, catching rays out on the water and relaxing on the beach are what dreams are made from. Unfortunately, all this outdoor activities can cause some extra wear and tear on the body.
Most of us protect ourselves by purchasing sunscreen, lip protectors, sun hats and sunglasses. But many will forget to look after two of the most important and neglected parts of the body - the feet.
The American Podiatric Medical Association offers the following tips on how to protect your feet from saltwater, sand and other outdoor elements:
- Remember to apply sunscreen to feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles. Don't forget to reapply after taking a dip.
- When out of the water, wash and dry feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, and apply a topical anti-fungal medication on any cracked or itchy skin. Clean, dry feet resist disease.
- Pass up sharing towels to avoid developing athlete's foot and other diseases that can easily be spread.
- Take special care of toenails, which can develop fungal infections around damp areas. See your podiatrist at first sign of discoloration or infection.
- If you take part in boating, fishing or other water sports, be sure to wear proper footwear. Some marine footwear products have been awarded the APMA's Seal of Acceptance. For a full list of shoes that carry this seal, visit www.apma.org.
- When in the ocean, be cautious of jellyfish that often bite at feet and ankles and sharp coral that can cut the undersides of feet. Keeping sandals or water shoes on at all times is recommended to prevent stings, cuts and other injuries.
- Watch out for prickly sea urchin spines when taking walks on the beach. Avoid walking barefoot; wear an old pair of running shoes or flip-flops to protect yourself.
- Give yourself plenty of time to break in new shoes before going on trips where you'll be doing lots of walking.
So before heading to the beach or going on vacation, be sure to check up on your feet. Any foot problems should be evaluated and treated by your podiatrist.