Your mobility and overall health are dependent on your feet. Foot care isn't a luxury; it is a necessity that helps you maintain your lifestyle, health and well-being. Regular foot care can be very important in the early diagnosis of many illnesses and conditions. Proper foot care helps keep your feet healthy and ensures you stay active and independent. Take a step in the right direction towards better health!
FOOT ASSESSMENT/HEALTH HISTORY
The first step in providing foot care to a new client involves an assessment of your feet and relevant health history. You will be asked to provide information concerning any medical conditions, medications you are currently taking and any special concerns you may have about your feet.
I will then examine your feet and suggest interventions/treatments or procedures that may be of benefit to you. Any such treatments or interventions will be fully explained to you and you will be asked to sign a consent before I begin.
Foot care appointments are generally a pleasant experience and none of the procedures should cause discomfort. Most clients feel a positive difference in their feet after even the first visit.
DIABETIC FOOT CARE & EDUCATION
People with diabetes experience higher than normal blood sugars. This may cause damage to small blood vessels, which in turn affects the nerves in the foot and leg. This nerve damage decreases your ability to feel injuries.
Nerves that control the shape of the foot may also be damaged, resulting in joint deformities. Toes, heels and arches may then be at risk of rubbing on improperly fitting shoes (that perhaps used to fit!).
Diabetic foot problems may include neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, deformity, infections and ulcers. Many complications can be prevented with proper foot care, including foot examination (for skin breakdown, sores, ulcers) and trimming/shaping of nails to avoid rubbing or sore spots on adjacent toes.
Education also plays a very important part in the prevention of foot problems for diabetics. Proper self care at home may preventing serious issues from developing. I can make several suggestions in this regard to help you care for your feet on a daily basis.
Statistics show that diabetics can reduce the rate of lower limb amputations by 45% to 85% by having regular foot care.
NAIL CLIPPING & FILING
Improper cutting of the toenails can lead to infections and skin breakdown. Due to poor eyesight or mobility issues, many people can not safely trim their own nails.
A common mistake people often make is to cut into the corners or to trim the nails too short. Cutting into the corners of toenails may result in an ingrown nail where the toenail is cutting into the skin, producing an infection.
Clients often request the nails to be cut as short as possible, but from a health care perspective it is best to have the nails closer to the end of the toe.
REDUCTION & TRIMMING OF THICK OR FUNGAL NAILS
Trimming thickened toenails is a much more difficult task than trimming normal nails. In most cases the nail trimmer you use at home will be ineffective. There is also the chance of the nail breaking off unevenly with drugstore clippers.
Fungal nails are equally difficult to trim by oneself as they tend to grow upwards in thickness, instead of length.This type of nail may also crumble excessively when trimmed improperly.
Thick or fungal nails may also interfere with the proper fit of foot wear. With specialized tools I am able to effectively trim and reduce thick nails in a safe manner.
APPLICATION OF LOTIONS/EMOLLIENTS
Skin can become drier with age and certain medical conditions, especially diabetes. Daily moisturizing is important to prevent cracks in the skin that could lead to skin ulcers or infections.
After your foot care is completed, I apply moisturizers that benefit your skin and protect it from further dryness (especially if I have sanded or removed dried skin/corns/calluses).
Some nail conditions such as "involuted nails" (see Client Resources tab) may benefit from nail packing. This involves placing a very thin strip of cotton batting underneath the nail to relieve pressure at the edges.
If your feet or nails present a condition that requires the care of a Medical Doctor or Podiatrist, I will suggest a referral for you.
CORN & CALLUS CARE
Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that occur on the soles of feet and the toes. They are a normal way for the body to protect itself where there are areas of high pressure. Generally they are due to tight shoes, gait abnormalities and toe deformities.
The skin usually continues to thicken and can become very painful. Medicated corn pads are never recommended because they can cause an ulcer or infection if circulation is poor - especially in diabetics.
Most corns and calluses can be gently sanded and reduced during your visit. A change in footwear is often beneficial if shoes are too tight or rubbing on the toes.