Roberta is a wife, mother, and veteran nurse, who happens to be in a wheelchair, and who knows the importance of proper foot care for wheelchair users. For anyone in a chair who spends many hours sitting, slow circulation can give rise to slow healing times for a simple scrape or wound. When left untreated, any trauma to the feet can lead to skin infections or pressure sores. Roberta offers some tips to keep your feet healthy and happy.
Foot care as part of your daily routine
Wash, dry, and inspect your feet daily. Always dry between your toes completely after bathing, as extra moisture down there can lead to infection. If you’re applying moisturizer to your feet, stay away from the areas between your toes. Inspect your feet for changes, and always see a podiatrist for questionable problems, including corns and calluses.
Foot care with or without shoes
Avoid going barefoot; you could unknowingly hit your feet.
Wear breathable, well-fitting socks, and buy shoes larger and wider in anticipation of foot swelling. Wear new shoes progressively, for a few hours at a time, until you know they don’t cause friction on any part of your feet. It’s also a good practice to protect your feet with water shoes during swimming and water activities.
Foot care after injury
Treat cuts and sores right away, as these can lead to infection. Minor injuries may be treated at home, but if they don’t improve or they show signs of infection, you should see your doctor. If you experience redness, or suspect you have a pressure sore, see you doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Red or discolored skin that isn’t broken.
- Changes in hardness or temperature compared to surrounding areas.
- Redness remains when you depress the area; it does not lighten or turn white.
- Redness does not fade within 30 minutes after the pressure is relieved.
Remember to protect your feet at night also. Wear thick socks for protection; place pillows under your feet if you’re a back-sleeper; and put a pillow between ankles, and between your bed and your ankle if you’re a side sleeper. Check often for the following problems:
Athlete’s Foot - a common minor skin infection caused by a fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin. It grows best in warm, moist places, such as the area between the toes. The best way to prevent Athlete’s Foot is to keep feet clean and dry, and pay close attention to areas between your toes.
Toenail Fungus – can be found on the toenail or in the toenail bed and grows best in warm, moist environments such as between the toes. Infected nails are usually thicker than normal and may look warped and yellow. It’s important to treat toenail fungus according to your doctor’s recommendation, and take steps to avoid a repeat infection. Wash the feet with an antifungal soap and dry between the toes well.
Ingrown Toenail - This usually affects the big toe, and occurs when the nail grows into the flesh instead of over it. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and redness around the area of an ingrown nail. If you notice an infection, see your doctor, who may prescribe an antibiotic. You can prevent ingrown toenails by trimming them straight across, and filing the edges with a nail file.
Take the time to pay attention to your feet and incorporate these suggestions into your daily routine to keep your feet healthy.
Be sure to share this post with others!