General Foot Care
Toe nails should be cut straight across. Use a nail file to ensure that there are no sharp edges. Do not cut down the sides of your nails as you may create a spike of nail which could result in an ingrown toenail. See a Podiatrist or Chiropodist if you are diabetic, if you have reduced sensation in your foot and/or you have poor eyesight for best advice regarding cutting toe nails and using foot files etc.
Socks and Hosiery
Socks and hosiery should be changed daily, be free from bulky seams and have non-elasticated tops.
Avoid walking barefoot
Walking barefoot can put your foot at risk of injury such as stubbing toes and standing on sharp objects which can damage the skin.
Avoid extremes of temperature
If your foot gets cold, wear socks. Never sit with your foot in front of the fire to warm it up if it feels cold. Always remove hot water bottles or heating pads from your bed before getting in.
If you have had a previous ulcer or previous amputation you are at risk of developing further ulcers. The appropriate self-monitoring and input from health care professionals will help to minimise the risk of further problems.
It is essential for those with circulatory problems or diabetes to spend a few minutes each day on foot care.
Those with diabetes or reduced sensation in the foot, may not always recognise pain or changes in temperature.
- Wash and dry your foot thoroughly especially in between the toes
- Always use your hands to check that your bath water isn’t too hot
- Don’t soak your foot as this may damage the skin
- Use a moisturising cream, rubbing into your foot BUT not in between your toes
- Inspect your foot carefully for any cuts, blisters, abrasions or any areas of redness or heat
- If you experience any difficulties in checking your foot, a small mirror can be useful or ask for help from a family member or carer
- Inspect the inside of your footwear, checking for anything that may cause damage to your foot
What to do if you discover a wound
- Clean the area and apply a clean dressing
- AVOID sticking plasters if you can
- DO NOT prick or burst blisters
If the wound shows no sign of improvement in a few days you should see a health care professional HOWEVER…
If you are diabetic or have reduced sensation in your foot, you should see a health care professional as soon as possible
Shoes should be a good fit with adequate length and depth for your toes. They should be supportive with a low or flat heel and a thick sole. Ideally, they should have lace or velcro fastening and you should avoid slip-on shoes
- NEVER walk about barefoot
- DO NOT wear shoes without socks, stockings or tights
- AVOID slippers for outdoor use
- AVOID sandals with open toes
- AVOID socks that are tight and those with elastic tops
Going on holiday?
On the journey
Long journeys can make your lower limbs swell. Try to walk about every half hour if possible, even a short distance will help. This will keep circulation moving and keep swelling down. Remember your foot may swell in heat so make sure your shoes have adequate room.
Avoid walking barefoot at any time, particularly on the beach or by the pool as the sand/pool tiles can become very warm and you may burn your foot without realising. If you do go into the sea, wear some sort of protective footwear i.e. plastic shoes.
Minor Cuts and Blisters
Take a small first aid kit comprising sterile gauze dressings, antiseptic and plasters. In the event of a small blister, cut or graze clean the wound and seek medical advice.
Avoid extremes of temperature
Protect your foot from sunburn with a high protection sun factor or keep them covered.
Foot care tips
Wash your foot daily with lukewarm water and soap
Dry your foot well, especially between your toes
Use a hand mirror to inspect your foot for blisters, cuts or abrasions
Never walk barefoot, indoor or outdoors
Socks should be changed daily and free from elasticated tops