With the weather heating up, summer will be here before we know it! As restrictions lessen, many of us are taking time to enjoy the outdoors–swimming, sunbathing, hiking, picnicking, and more! Though you may already know you should use sunblock regularly when at the beach or spending time outdoors in the sun, do you remember your feet?
Overexposure from the sun can affect any unprotected area, including your feet, make sure you protect your feet as well or you could end up with sunburnt feet. The soles of your feet may be protected from the sun, but the tops of our feet and toes can take in a lot of sunlight when we go barefoot or wear sandals. If your feet take on too many sun rays, you may not be able to walk or wear footwear without pain. Fortunately, we are here to help you with every part of your foot health including sunburns!
If your feet become sunburned, the first thing you will need to do is determine how bad the damage is. Just like traditional burn trauma, sunburns are graded on the level of damage to your skin. If you notice blisters or signs of discharge from the blisters this most likely is a serious burn and it is important to seek immediate medical attention. However, if your feet are only red or pink on the surface, home remedies and rest will soothe your pain and heal the damage.
As soon as you begin to suspect a mild sunburn, you can start with these home treatment options:
- Anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Apply a cold damp compress to chill the skin and alleviate the burning sensation.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Take cool foot soaks to soothe the burn.
- Use creams and ointments containing menthol, camphor, or aloe to relieve pain and hydrate the area. Refrigerating the creams will also provide additional relief.
- Wear roomy footwear when possible. Ideally avoid shoes that are too tight as they may pinch and irritate your burn, while shoes that are too large may cause your feet to slide and rub against the material.
If blisters do appear during the healing process, do not burst them or irritate the area around them and allow your skin to heal on its own. If you notice more blisters or discharge, contact our office for professional treatment.
When applying sunblock, don’t forget the top of your feet, toes, and ankles. We recommend using a broad-spectrum product that contains at least 30 SPF and protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Reapply every two hours as needed while outdoors and try to avoid spending several hours in direct sunlight. Even if you are just sunbathing, be mindful of your exposure as sand can reflect and amplify the sun’s rays. We also recommend annual podiatric examinations that will help us check your feet for any abnormalities or changes in skin texture and color.
It is important to be mindful of the sun, especially while recovering from sunburns as the skin is already tender and overexposure could cause deeper damage to occur and increase your risk for skin cancer. For more information on sunburned feet and our treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact Martha P. Aponte, DPM today.