Walking on the Beach: Inflammation and Tendonitis
It’s that time of year, when families pack up for a relaxing trip to the coast. Imagine the disappointment when you wind up in a lot of pain after a nice stroll on the beach. The trip isn’t so relaxing anymore, is it? One patient of mine in particular came to see me immediately after she returned from her vacation, explaining that after walking on the beach she would feel sharp pain in the arches of her feet. She’d never experienced this pain before, and only happened when walking barefoot on sand or for long periods of time. There’s an explanation for the pain, and a way for her to prevent this from happening again! It ended up being tendonitis.
Walking on soft or uneven surfaces such as sand can cause inflammation or tearing of the posterior tibial tendon. The main function of the tendon is to hold up the arch and support the foot when walking. As a result of overuse, the tendon can’t provide stability or support for the arch of the foot, sometimes resulting in a tear. You may feel a sharp, pulling sensation on the inside of the arch or ankle. This condition is more common in those with flat feet. Rest, immobilization and anti-inflammatories usually help, but orthotics and physical therapy might be beneficial for those who frequently have inflammation. Wearing a good walking shoe while strolling on the beach is the most immediate way to prevent a tear.
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