With summer upon us, it's a great time to enjoy warm, sunny days. While we all know to apply sunscreen and wear hats to protect ourselves from UV rays, we sometimes forget how hot the pavement or sand can become. 

The Dangers of Hot Pavement and Sand

It is very important to protect our feet from the radiant heat that comes from the surfaces we walk on. Darker pavements, especially black ones, absorb the sun's rays, making them blisteringly hot. For example, a blacktop surface can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on an 85-degree day. Similarly, at the beach, dry sand can reach up to 100 degrees when the air temperature is only 75 degrees. An air temperature of 90 degrees can heat the sand to over 120 degrees, which can lead to first- and second-degree burns on our skin.

Who Should Take Extra Caution?

Certain groups of people should be particularly cautious:

  • Diabetics
  • Small children
  • Elderly individuals
  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • People with poor circulation
  • People with with neuropathy or poor sensation

Signs of First- and Second-degree Burns

It's important to recognize the signs of burns caused by hot surfaces. These include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Blister formation
  • Skin peeling
  • Pain or burning sensation

If you suspect that you have sustained a thermal injury to your feet, you should seek medical treatment from a doctor as soon as possible. They will assess the type of injury and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Tips for Protecting Your Feet

To ensure a safe and injury-free summer, follow these simple tips:

  1. Wear protective footwear: Always wear shoes or sandals when walking on hot pavement or sand.
  2. Test the surface: Before stepping on pavement or sand, use your hand to test its temperature.
  3. Stay in the shade: Whenever possible, walk on shaded paths or areas to avoid direct exposure to hot surfaces.
  4. Take breaks: If you must walk on hot surfaces, take frequent breaks and cool your feet with water.

And let’s not forget our pets! We all want to have a safe and injury-free summer.

About the Author 
Dr. Douglas Solway is a board-certified podiatrist specializing in comprehensive foot and ankle care. He treats a wide range of conditions, including sports injuries, diabetic foot care, heel pain, and complex fractures. Dr. Solway has extensive experience in both conservative and surgical treatments, ensuring personalized and effective care for each patient. His dedication to patient education and prevention helps individuals maintain healthy and active lifestyles.

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