Foot Care for Frolicking at Ohio Beaches

Those looking to cool off from hot temperatures around Columbus ought to be careful when going to visit any Lake Erie beaches in Ohio. Recently, environmental research has been released on how many times last summer E. coli bacteria were a threat to swimmers at coastal beaches. Unfortunately, E. coli was detected a higher number of times along Ohio’s Lake Erie beaches compared to any other coastal beach sites tested. The presence of disease causing bacteria at lake beaches can potentially cause dangerous tissue infections in the feet without proper care and precautions.

Bacteria and the infections they cause take a different course depending on a number of variables. While the severity of an infection and how the infection manifests itself may vary, one relative constant factor in developing a foot infection while in an aquatic environment is: the presence of a trauma or wound in the skin. Most bacteria found in lakes are unable to penetrate through intact skin to cause infection. However, when a scrape, cut or ulceration is present in the foot the bacteria may enter and cause disease. Signs of wound infection include: swelling, redness, increased skin temperature, pain, drainage from the wound and odor. Some infections acquired in a lake may have an unusual appearance. Bacteria called pseudomonas aeruginosa may cause wound drainage to have a blue-green appearance. These bacteria may also cause “Green Nail Syndrome” in individuals with prolonged exposure to the bacteria in water, in which the toenails appear greenish-black. If a wound infection progresses without being properly treated it may reach the bloodstream and manifest with system-wide symptoms of fever, nausea, vomiting and chills.

In order to prevent such infection from occurring, feet should be thoroughly inspected for the presence of any open wound before entering an aquatic environment. Even a small cut such as a nick while shaving the legs or a toenail being cut too short during a pedicure can allow bacteria to enter. By being aware of the wound and its appearance prior to a visit to the beach, it may be determined that water should be avoided altogether or, at a minimum, care may be taken to note if any changes occur. All wounds on the foot should be properly cleansed and cared for regardless of whether or not an individual will be entering water. Individuals with diabetes or other immune conditions should take extra precautions with care of wounds to avoid infection. With awareness and regular excellent foot care, Columbus travelers should have a safe and fun time cooling off at any beach they choose this summer!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

If you would like to be seen by our podiatrists in Dublin, Ohio near Tuttle Crossing, call 614-859-3338 (FEET) for an appointment.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia