The arrival of summer fills the beaches with people eager to take a pleasant swim in salty waters and sunbathe for a bit. But this time of year also marks the season of free feet.
Many people do barefoot walks on the beacha way of walking and exercising that has always been associated with countless benefits, such as the exfoliating power of sand on the skin, the improvement of cardiovascular health and a way to improve endurance and strength.
However, not in all cases it can be so good for our feet. Walking barefoot in the sand can have an unexpected impact on them, especially depending on what type of surface we do it, because on the beach it is not the same to walk along the shore as on the sand away from the water, and this the foot notices .
Problems of walking barefoot on the beach
At the time of walking barefoot through the sand we will have realized that it is not the same to walk along the shore than on dry sand. In the first case, the wet sand gives us a soft ground but hard enough to walk more safely; In dry sand, on the other hand, the foot sinks deeper and the effort we have to make is greater.
According to the General Council of Official Colleges of Podiatrists of Spain (CGCOP), skin contact with sea sand can overload the muscles and cause injuries, especially if the walks are long. Going barefoot on the beach puts more stress on your tendons and provides less overall support to your joints.
As we have already mentioned, beaches are not places with flat floors, but rather the opposite, which unbalances the body and makes us walk, forcing our joints more. This often translates into one leg supports more weight than the other, forcing us to bend our ankles.
Thus, we are requiring our feet to walk at an angle to which we are not used to, something that our ankles and other joints will notice especially. A pulled muscle or other injury is more likely in these cases.
If the area where we walk has the softest sand, as is the case with dry sand, an irregular and unstable surface is formed that means that, when walking on it, the muscles are forced to make a great effort to maintain the stability, especially the ankle. The heel usually sinks, which generates great tension in our muscles.
People with certain pathologies such as chronic rheumatism, arthritis and various osteoarthritis should be especially careful when walking barefoot on the beach because sand is a type of floor that requires more effort from the foot, which leads to a more difficult and painful walk than on the beach. a flat and stable ground.
In addition to the problems of overloading the calves, injuries related to plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot) can also appear. In this case it is very important to provide good support for your feet.
Tips for walking barefoot on the beach:
Walking barefoot on soft surfaces like sand and traveling long distances extends your range of motion more than normal. To prevent a walk on the beach from ruining our day, it is important to keep in mind some simple tips:
- Choose the sand with more consistency: We have already said that the shore is the most appropriate area to take a walk because if the foot does not sink so much when walking, we will avoid increased muscle tension and the problem of instability. Therefore, we will look for the part of the shore where the sand is more compact and stable.
- Do not abuse long walks barefoot: because we can tense the tendons and feel contractures. This can increase the risk of cramps. If we want to go on long walks, it is advisable to protect the foot with footwear. It is important that, in the face of any small discomfort, we go to a podiatrist to rule out any injury.
- Protect the feet if we have a cutscratch or open wound: we must protect them from sand or water to avoid infection. Sea water contains bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureuss, which survives in salt water, or harmful biotoxins, which could infect an open wound.
- Protect feet from the sun: as we explained in this article, the feet are one of the six areas that we do not usually protect from the sun’s rays. If we are going to walk barefoot on the beach, it is important to put sunscreen not only on the ankles, but also on the fingers, around the nails.
If you don’t want to miss any of our articles, subscribe to our newsletters