The Summer time is the best time to start the day with an early morning jog, or a run at the beach. If you’ve been thinking about running barefoot, the beach is the best place to start. But before you jet out the door eager for that run, here are some barefoot running tips from our very own orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Brian Bacot of Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global, Virgin Islands. Start by applying sunscreen… Everywhere!! Even the tops of your feet! This is an area most people forget about but the tops of feet are just as sun sensitive as the skin on the rest of your body. So make sure you apply a sun block with at least a 30 SPF. Stretching is next. Running barefoot can put additional strain on the calf muscles and tendons so make sure you do a good and thorough stretch before embarking on your run. Don’t forget to wear a UV resistant t-shirt, UV blocking sun glasses and a hat or sweat band. Dr. Bacot does not recommend running in swim attire as the lycra material can cause chaffing. Ouch!
Here are a few other pointers to ensure a good beach run that can become a regular passion or pastime.
- Stop regularly and check your footprints. They give a good indication of your foot alignment and foot strike so you can correct it as you go.
- Running on a slant can put undue pressure on the knees. If there is no other alternative, do an ‘out and back’ run so the burden is shared equally by both sides of the body. Don’t run close to the water as the sand can become unstable.
- Running on sand can worsen plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains or Achilles injuries so don’t push too hard.
- Start on damp hard sand taking it slowly until you’re warmed up.
- Running on the softer sand will strengthen the muscles below the knees, the tendons and the arches.
- Be careful of sharp objects, rocks and holes. It’s easy to sustain an ankle, knee and even a neck injury by stepping into a deep hole. Keep your eyes on the sand in front of you.
- Although you will want to take a quick ocean splash after your run, do take a few minutes to cool down and do some gentle stretches first!