Since much of the U.S. is in the midst of a heat wave, you may be heading to the beach or pool to cool down. Once you get there, you may apply sunscreen to your body – or maybe you don’t apply any at all. Then you spend hours splashing in the water, or playing around in the sand, or just lounging in the chaise soaking up the sun. Sometime later you may think, “Hey, my feet are kind of burning.” Only then do you finally look down at your feet and realize, “Oh no, my feet are sunburned.”

Yes, your feet (both the tops and the bottoms) are vulnerable to the sun’s effects. And you can severely sunburn your feet if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect them. 

Sunburn Can Be a Serious, Painful Condition 

You can get sunburnt after 15 or more minutes of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Over exposure to the sun can even cause sunburn swelling, where your skin is burned to the point that it actually swells. And, of course, almost everyone has heard about the dangers of prolonged sun exposure and sunburn – it can increase a person’s risk of melanoma, or other skin cancers, later in life.

Since the skin on your feet is tender, sunburn on the tops of your feet and toes can be particularly painful. Your skin will turn red and feel hot to the touch. In addition to the pain, your feet may swell, and you may develop blisters. Also, it may be painful to wear closed shoes, limiting your ability to walk. After several days, your sunburn will finally fade away, and your skin may peel.

Treatment for Sunburned Feet 

If your feet become sunburned from intense sun exposure, the following remedies can help to relieve your pain and speed up the healing process.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body rehydrated to promote healing.
  • Wear open shoes, like sandals or flats, to reduce the pain and friction caused by the shoe rubbing against your sunburned skin.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, like Tylenol®, to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Elevate your feet if they are swollen.
  • Soak your feet in cool water to relieve the pain. Or apply cool, wet, black tea bags, or cotton balls soaked with witch hazel, to your feet to help cool the skin and reduce the swelling.
  • Apply compresses of milk and baking soda or yogurt to your skin to draw out the heat. Let dry and rinse off with cool water.
  • Apply sunburn pain gels or aloe vera to your feet as often as necessary. This will speed up healing and moisturize the skin. Avoid creams since these can clog the pores and may cause an infection.
  • Leave any blisters alone – do not scratch them if they itch since this can cause more pain and possible scarring.
  • If your pain and swelling is severe or persists, visit your doctor for treatment.

Of course, the best possible treatment is to prevent your feet from getting sunburned in the first place. 

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to both the tops and bottoms of your feet and your ankles whenever you’re outside – even if it is a cloudy day. Reapply sunscreen after swimming or if you are sweating excessively.
  • Apply sunscreen even if you’re wearing sandals. Your feet can still get sunburned through the straps.
  • Limit walking barefoot or keep your feet covered when in the sun.
  • Avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Drink plenty of liquids throughout the day, especially if you’re in the sun for long periods of time. This will keep you hydrated and minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.

Keep Your Feet Comfortable Throughout the Summer 

Not only are your feet susceptible to the sun’s scorching rays during the summer, but you can develop other foot conditions, like corns, calluses, arch or heel  pain, from wearing flip-flops and/or sandals. However, you can protect and support your feet by slipping ezWalker® Performance Insoles into your shoes. These performance foot orthotics are customized to each of your feet – ensuring you have the exact support each foot needs. Every step you take will be biomechanically correct – providing you with comfort and pain relief. Since they are ultra thin and ¾ in length, ezWalker® insoles easily fit into any type footwear, athletic, dress, casual, and even sandals. Order your ezWalker® shoe inserts today. Ask about our cosmetically correct custom solution for sandals with removable insoles.

Don’t let sunburn or foot pain ruin your summer. Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.


Note: If you follow these guidelines and your pain persists, you may have a more serious condition. See your physician for a more complete diagnosis and treatment.