We hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day yesterday! Summer will be here before you know it, and with the weather heating up, holidays are a great time to go swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. As fun as it is, flip-flopping around in sandals or going barefoot through the grass can put your feet at risk for sunburn. Dealing with burnt, blistered, red skin is no fun anywhere on your body, but it can be particularly tough on your feet, since you’ll probably have to put on shoes and walk around even while they’re still healing. At our Austin podiatry practice, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and our team are here to help you with every facet of your foot health, including sunburns. We provide practical advice to assist with your podiatric health through every season and holiday. In the following blog, we’ll cover how to wear shoes when your feet are sunburned and give our tips for healing that frustrating condition.
Chances are, you won’t be able to drive your kids to school, go grocery shopping, or waltz into the office barefoot. It can be difficult or even seem downright impossible to strap on shoes over your burnt skin. To get through this tough stage of healing, we recommend:
- Wearing flip-flops or other open shoes such as sandals, if appropriate. The less pressure you can put on your skin and the more you can leave it open to the air, the better. Steer clear of tight straps or textured materials that could rub against the burn.
- Wearing loose socks and relatively roomy shoes, if you must wear close-toed footwear. Ideally, you can strike a balance between shoes that are too tight, which will pinch the burn, and those that are so big that your feet slide around in them, which could create much-unwanted friction for your sensitive feet.
- Test out your shoes before you leave the house. While you might want to remain barefoot for as long as possible with a burn, it’s a good idea to try out your footwear for five to ten minutes before you head out. This gives you time to realize that the straps on those sandals are actually too tight, or switch out those textured socks for a smoother pair.
In addition to the above, you may want to take a low dose of an anti-inflammatory medication while you’re out and about to diminish discomfort and swelling. Also, see if you can minimize your time in shoes during the first few days after your sunburn. You should also avoid sun exposure as much as possible (so, if you need to work or run errands outside, you might want to go for close-toed options). This will give your feet the opportunity to heal faster.
Treating the Sunburn
Following the right steps at home can also make wearing shoes out more bearable, even with a bad burn. WebMD suggests: “apply cold compresses to your skin or take a cool bath to soothe the burn.” You can also utilize special “creams or gels” such as those with “menthol, camphor, or aloe.” These ingredients can help relieve discomfort and moisturize the area. For even greater relief, WebMD suggests: “refrigerating the cream first” so it’s nice and cool. You can also help treat your sunburn from the inside out by “drink[ing] plenty of water and other fluids so that you don’t become dehydrated.” Prevention also advises avoiding soap or using only a mild brand, since it “can dry and irritate skin with a sunburn” and instructs sunburned patients to “gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel” after wetting them, since rubbing the skin too vigorously with a towel can “irritate it further.”
Of course, we’d all rather just not get sunburns on our feet in the first place. In addition to avoiding the discomfort of a burn, a proactive approach can help you avoid more serious health risks. Care2 reported: “Members of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA) were recently polled to find out if they’d ever found melanoma or skin cancer during a routine foot examination. Seventy-five percent said they had.” To save your feet and, potentially, your life, we recommend that you always remember to put sunscreen of at least 30 SPF on your feet, reapply it every two hours, and avoid excess sun exposure. We also recommend you see Dr. LaMour at least annually for podiatric examinations. During these appointments, he will check your feet for any abnormalities and provide further foot care advice.
Are Your Feet Sunburned?
Did your feet have a little too much fun in the sun this Memorial Day? Do you want more recommendations for handling sunburned feet and other summer foot care tips? Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment with Dr. LaMour.