It is essential, especially if you are diabetic, to care for your feet every day to avoid serious, even lift-threatening complications. However, many people have trouble caring for their feet on a daily basis at home. This may be for several reasons:
- Dizziness when bending over
- Injury or lack of flexibility making it hard to reach your toes
- Poor vision
While we strongly recommend those with high risk feet to seek professional foot care on a monthly basis, you will still have to care for your feet in-between visits to avoid common complications such as:
- Foot ulcers
- Dry, cracked heels (fissures)
- Corns on the top, bottom of your toes or feet
- Nails curled over your toes causing pressure and injury
- Ingrown nails
- Thickened, yellow nails
If you have a tough time caring for your feet, there are many tips, tricks and aids which can assist you by simple modifications to the way you are doing things. It is important that you look at your feet every day, especially if you have lost sensation in your feet (neuropathy). The basics for daily foot care include:
- Looking at the top and bottom of your feet. Look for reddened areas, calluses, wounds or cracked areas.
- Wash your feet daily, being careful to test the bath water before immersing your feet.
- Look at your nails. Do they need to be trimmed? Book in to see Foot Care Nurse. If you feel confident to trim them yourself, cut them straight across, not too short and trim the corners.
- Applying lotion to your feet (except in-between the toes). Wearing socks for at least an hour afterwards will help the lotion absorb more effectively.
- Wearing regular socks or compression socks (if prescribed)
- Wearing shoes which are properly fitted to you to avoid areas or pressure
What if you have a hard time looking at your feet?
Here are some ideas to assist you to visualize the top and bottom of your feet:
- Place a mirror on the floor or use an extension mirror
- Use your cell phone to take a picture. You can use a “selfie-stick” as an extension
- Have a loved one look at your feet for you
What if you can’t reach your feet to dry in-between your toes or apply lotion?
There are different tools you can use which can be bought at a health products store and can be made at home such as:
- A painting stick or metre stick with foam or material wrapped at both ends. These can be held on with an elastic. (Wash or change the material or foam regularly to avoid bacteria or fungus)
- Use a long towel. With one end in each hand, loop the towel around your feet to dry them.
- To apply lotion, use a long towel again, but add some plastic wrap to the centre portion. Apply the lotion to the plastic wrap and rub your feet on it. Use one foot to help apply the lotion to the other foot. Be careful to dry in-between your toes.
What if you need to file calluses on your heels but you can’t reach?
If you have any loss of sensation in your feet, please be very careful with this process. In fact, it is strongly recommended that foot filing is left to professional foot care nurses, however if this is not an option for you, you can use a paint stick or other long extension item as mentioned above. Tape a fine-grit sanding block to the end of the stick. Alternatively, you can purchase a foot file/paddle with long handle.
Do you have difficulty putting your socks on and off?
Many people do. There are many types of “donning” and “doffing” aids, to help you put your socks on and take them off. Here is a link with some tips and to some of the aids we commonly recommend: https://aoservices.ca/compression-therapy/ If you continue to have difficulty with your socks, talk to your health care professional for other ideas or in-home assistance.
These are just the basics of modified foot care at home. If you have any concerns about your feet, please contact us or a foot care nurse in your area.
Love your feet. We do!
Kathleen Cesarin, LPN, Ortho/Foot & Wound Mgmt. Cert
If you need help caring for your feet please contact us for an appointment by calling (780)907-2082 or emailing us here.