Walking on Sand with Knee Issues?

Walking on Sand with Knee Issues? 645d549c719cd.png

Walking on Sand with Knee Issues?

Is it safe to walk on the beach with knee issues?

When you hear the phrase “long walks on the beach” it might sound a little bit like a corny dating app cliche. However, it’s more than a cliche, it’s beneficial.

Walking on sand requires more effort than walking on a hard surface such as concrete and as a result, burns more calories. This, of course, is a great way to burn off the calories from that extra hot dog, or cheeseburger with toppings galore.

However, for those of us with knee issues, the additional effort that it takes to walk on the sand sounds like it would just aggravate our knees and cause more knee pain. But does it?

The answer depends on the particular knee issue.

For example, for those of us with a knee injury, severe arthritis, or who are recovering from knee surgery, hip surgery, etc- walking on the beach is not a good idea. And, your best bet is definitely a comfy chair with a great book and plenty of sunscreens.

If you are suffering from a knee injury, walking on uneven and unpredictable sand, can actually create added stress and strain on your joints and hinder your recovery. This is especially true when it comes to the areas of softer sand. Why is this?

Well, simply put, when the foot sinks into the sand, the knees can become unstable, causing the muscles throughout your legs to work harder. This can be great for those of us without any knee issues, however, if you already have pain and swelling in your knee, this activity will only make things worse.

Maybe it’s obvious that walking on sand isn’t a great choice following knee surgery or injury. However, what about those of us with knees experiencing the normal wear and tear of aging?

Walking is one of the best ways to treat osteoarthritis pain and stiffness, but when it comes to walking on sand, it’s best to take some precautions.

For starters, it’s important to walk carefully when crossing softer sand until you reach the firmer sand located closer to the water. These spots tend to be flatter, which can help lessen any stress on the feet, knees, and hips.

Walking on the firmer sand near the water is a better choice than the soft sand, but it isn’t without its own risks. Beyond having to cross through soft uneven sand to get to the shorelines, at the shore there is usually a slight slope. This slope along the firm sand, can provide additional stress to the entire kinetic chain from the foot up to the knee, hip, and back. You may not notice it at the time you are walking, but increased symptoms of pain and swelling may follow.

So, the bottom line, when it comes to walking on the beach, with the normal wear and tear of aging, and the osteoarthritis that can accompany that – is taking special care.

The publication Arthritis Today stresses that it’s important to pay attention to the sandy beach terrain given its uneven nature, however, if you are taking these precautions and wearing the right footwear, you are usually good to go.

Wearing the right footwear…so does that mean we must wear shoes in order to take care of our knees?

Well, not necessarily.

According to The Arthritis Exercise Book , walking barefoot on warm sand exercises every muscle of the foot, and can have a massaging effect as well. It can also have a real grounding effect both mentally and emotionally, as each step connects with the earth. Some even use this as an opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation and really take in the beauty of the surroundings. However, for some, wearing supportive shoes or sandals with a supportive sole and back strap can be better.

When it comes to shoes or no shoes, a lot of it comes down to personal preference, and what feels good to you. For longer walks, wearing shoes is usually the better choice, as it can be taxing on the arches of the feet and more tiring to go barefoot the whole time.

However, for a casual stroll along the beach, looking for shells, taking in the sunshine, and enjoying the great outdoors, slipping off your shoes can have its benefits as well.

Walking on the beach, when done correctly and with caution, can be not only good for your muscles and joints, but it’s also good for your mind. So take extra caution, and if your knee issues are troublesome, speak with your doctor before your next beach day, just to play it safe.

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