While on vacation last week in the USVI, I got to thinking about the potential hazards our feet face at the beach. Here are my top 3 threats Cuts or lacerations. Walking barefoot anywhere puts the foot at risk for soft tissue injury. Sand is soft on the feet but can hide sharp objects that can cause cuts. Shells and sharp rocks are the most common objects to cause cuts on the feet. Broken glass and metal can also be found on some beaches. First aid for a cut on the foot should include thorough cleansing and removal of any sand or other material from the wound. Cover with a dressing using antibiotic cream until healed. Deep or extensive wounds should receive medical attention. Puncture wounds. The sand can also hide sharp, pointy objects that can penetrate the skin on the bottom of the foot. Wood splinters and sea life spines are the most common penetrating objects. First aid for puncture wounds includes removal of the penetrating object and cleansing of the wound. A dry dressing should be applied. Avoid ointments over puncture wounds as they can prevent the drainage of retained foreign matter from the wound. Deep penetrating wounds and those where the foreign object cannot be removed should receive medical care. Burns. The top of the foot is subject to sunburn. Many of us forget to apply sunscreen to the top of the feet, especially when they are sandy. The sand can get hot enough to burn the bottoms of the feet on some beaches. Footwear should be worn if the sand is hot, especially for those with reduced sensation or poor circulation. First aid for minor burns should be to cool the area with cool but not cold water. Apply antibiotic cream to prevent infection. Second degree burns result in blisters of the skin. These will require dressings for protection. Medical evaluation is wise for anything more than a minor burn of the feet. Don’t be afraid to step out on the beach. Just be aware of the hazards and care for any injuries promptly. We are here for you should you need care for any foot injury from summer activities.
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