As summer weather approaches Virginia’s tidewater region, we think of the area’s iconic beaches. From a sunrise walk along the water to building sandcastles with family or even surf fishing, there is a good chance that your plans will include sand. However, that all changes when a walk on the beach is painful.
If you are suffering from hip, knee, or foot pain today, you may be thinking of the long list of excuses to not join in the fun. You may be thinking of how a walk on the beach may lead to increased pain or even balance issues.
First, let’s look at the pros, cons, and varied opinions on “walking on sand .” Then, we will outline some solutions to resolve your pain and balance issues.
A Painful Walk on the Beach vs. Nature’s Gym
Virginia Beach, plus surrounding coastal communities and peninsulas, are known for vibrant beach life. The beaches of pale blond and light-textured sand provide a beautiful seascape. But, it is also that light-textured sand that may cause some hip, knee, or foot pain. Or is it nature’s perfect gym?
A painful situation vs. a natural gym depends on your personal situation today. If you are in good physical shape and are pain-free today, then a run or stroll on the beach may be the perfect addition to your fitness routine. If you plan to include beach activities in your fitness routine, ensure proper use. Here are 5 tips to ensure that you safely use a Virginia beach as your natural gym:
1. Build up to longer walks or running on sand slowly. Gradually build your distance. You may be able to run a mile on a paved trail, but that should not translate to a mile on the sand.
2. At first, be sure to wear shoes until your muscles become accustomed to the extra resistance of the sand.
3. Run or walk at the water’s edge to build endurance. (but read below about sloped terrain)
4. Remember that walking or running on sand does burn more calories. That is a natural advantage but be prepared with ample water and a snack.
5. If you are ready to build a beach workout regime, a blog from Shape Magazine advocates a beach plan built on strength.
If you are already in pain or experiencing mobility issues, the thought of even a short stroll on the beach is met with dread.
When a Walk on the Beach is Painful
If you are already experiencing that dull ache in your hip, knee, or foot, walking on the beach may quickly elevate the pain. Or, perhaps, you are left with a pain that will not resolve after a weekend at the beach. Sand may be the culprit, and you may need to see a professional physical therapist this week.
Even a leisurely stroll on a sandy beach has been known to magnify underlying pain. Or your morning sunrise walk may actually cause your lower back pain. Why? Here are a few reasons:
1. You may have to walk through deep, loose sand to make your way to the waterline. This deep sand gives your core and hips, knees, and feet a workout. Any underlying problem will send out an emergency flair of pain. Or, if your muscles are weak, you may create a new problem.
2. The wet sand along the shoreline, although more accessible to the transverse, is actually sloped. That slight slope can cause balance and mobility problems.
3. While enjoying the beach, you may lose a sense of time and distance and go beyond your limits.
Physical Therapy Provides a Solution
When a walk on the beach is painful, physical therapy can often remedy the pain and provide a solid base for future visits to the beach. Your doctor may advise the solution of PT, or you may want to review the benefits with a physician.
Here are the benefits that you can expect from the professional team at The Therapy Network in the tidewater region of Virginia.
1. Our team of professional therapists will help you build a strong core. A strong core is a cornerstone to a pain-free walk on the beach.
2. We will ensure that your joints are aligned for proper movement.
3. A professional therapist will evaluate your gait, balance, and mobility.
4. And we will even evaluate your foot ware. Did you know that your flip-flops may be a problem? Read this news story about “Flip Flop Syndrom” and be aware.
Assistance from a Local Team
The Therapy Network has announced its newest location near the Newtown light rail station at 171 Kempsville Road is now named The Therapy Network Pain Management and Balance Center.
As you have been reading this blog, you may have been nodding along. Yes, a walk on the local beach may be causing your pain. You may have also noticed some balance issues during or after your walk. The Therapy Network team is ready to evaluate and create a custom treatment plan.
Appointments are available today in Virginia Beach and the tidewater region. With six locations around the hub of Virginia Beach, a professional physical therapist and The Therapy Network is only a short drive away. We offer same-day appointments and provide a patient advocate to help you process all needed paperwork, including communication with your insurance provider.
Let us help you solve your pain and mobility issues and get back to enjoying the beach.