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Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Posted by HelenEC on 8/09/04 at 18:46 (157304)

I've just come back from a beach holiday where, contrary to all the advice I've seen, I found going barefoot very soothing to my PF, particularly walking on wet sand. I suppose it must be the sand moulding itself to the feet - I can't make more than 90 seconds on the stone floor of my kitchen, but walking around on the wet sand was fine. My heel pain went, and hasn't come back since I've been back at work, although I am sticking with the inserts, morning stretches, no bare feet now I'm off the beach etc.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Dr. Z on 8/09/04 at 19:55 (157315)

Interesting. Maybe it was just time to heal. Maybe the relaxation at the beach did the trick. I can see where the wet sand may feel good.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Julie on 8/10/04 at 02:12 (157349)

I agree with Dr Z. I had a similar experience a few years ago. I was in South India, and wanted so badly to walk barefoot on the beach that I just did. It was on that trip that my PF finally gave up the ghost, but I know there were other factors involved and that, as Dr Z says, it was time to heal.

Wonderful feeling, isn't it?

Like you, I continue to be vigilant and careful. It's four years now, but I keep up with the things that helped - orthotics, good shoes, not too much going barefoot, I don't believe in 'cure', actually. If a weakness (i.e. too much pronation as in my case) led to PF, it remains and needs to be accepted and dealt with long term.
.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Linda V. on 8/10/04 at 07:44 (157358)

hmm..wish it had helped me. i went to the beach and the cold, saltwater was WONDEFULLY cool and healing...but after a short walk even on the firm cool sand, i knew it was time to put my sneakers back on. and the loose sand was AWFUL to me. guess everyone is different. glad your feet are better for you...care for them well!

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Richard, C.Ped on 8/10/04 at 07:46 (157359)

You are exaclty right Helen. When we talk to our new patients, that is a primary example we give. The soft sand pretty much fills in the gaps, allowing the foot to be cradled with support. That is how a proper orthosis works.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Julie on 8/10/04 at 08:20 (157366)

Richard, that's interesting! One of the things I was told by my podiatrist was 'Don't Walk Barefoot in the Sand' (he knew that I was going on holiday shortly after I saw him - that was a few months before the Indian Experience). His reason was that the heel sinks low, increasing the strain on the fascia. That sounded reasonable to me, but the feeling, when I did it, was exactly as you describe: the gaps filled in, and the feet cradled and supported.
.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

HelenEC on 8/10/04 at 12:35 (157386)

I guess perhaps it was - it was certainly relaxing. I believe the condition was caused in my case by a single point injury, rather than deterioration over a long period, so I suppose the likelihood was greater of reaching a point where it just 'felt better'. My concern now is not to repeat the injury, so I'm being very careful around footwear and city streets!

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

R C on 8/10/04 at 14:30 (157406)

Walking on sand has the opposite effect on me - it stresses the fascia even further, and causes immediate discomfort. On the other hand, I have no problem standing barefoot on a concrete floor. Almost all shoes bother me for the same reason. Most of the time I wear totally flat deck shoes.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Linda V. on 8/10/04 at 16:19 (157422)

..i am a nurse, and MOST of the time, there are no secrets to medical treatment. you have heart pain, you do this, this and this...you have cancer of the lung, its a specific treatment after the staging and grading.
i am AMAZED that FEET seem to one of the most complicated things i have dealt with so far. there are NO specific answers or right or wrongs that seem appropriate treatment for the majority. go figure. with all my years of experience and education..i am as naive to solving my problem as anyone else.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Julie on 8/10/04 at 16:29 (157427)

I think the feet really are the most complex parts of the body - all those bones, tendons, ligaments and joints (28 joints in the toes alone) in a relatively small area. Plus they're the only body parts that are under continual stress during most of our waking hours. No wonder it can be hard to figure out what's wrong with them and what to do about it.
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Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Pauline on 8/10/04 at 19:17 (157446)

Linda,
A ray of hope is that you're in good company.

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

Cyndi on 8/10/04 at 19:47 (157454)

Hey, May I use this as a good excuse to go to the beach. I want to just go sit and watch the surf and the sunset. Heard the sounds, Sounds therapudic to me! LOL :-)

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

HelenEC on 8/11/04 at 16:25 (157585)

Go for it, I say :-)

Re: Unusual treatment - sandy beach

HelenEC on 8/11/04 at 16:40 (157586)

It doesn't help does it that whereas with other bits of the body you have nice specific descriptions - myocardiac infarction is clearly different to pericarditis to coronary thrombosis etc; by the time you get to the foot end you get things like 'metatarsalgia' (your toes hurt) 'plantar fascitis' (the bit that holds the bottom of your foot together really hurts). It's only when you get down to bunions and the like that you get a really specific description.

I strongly suspect that many doctors (not the ones who post here I hasten to add) lump all 'my feet hurt' complaints together, ignoring the fact that if, you have a traumatic injury to an otherwise healthy foot you need to rest it up, use appropriate treatment to minimise the likelihood of further damage, and let it heal by itself, whereas if you have a degenerative injury, it may be the case that you can only provide a palliative (sp?) that makes it hurt a bit less. Trauma injuries to ankle or knee can take 6 months plus to heal fully, but we've all heard of sportsmen forced to retire following repeated, degenerative injury to an ankle or knee. I don't think the difference is always appreciated in the case of feet.