CARE OF THE FEET AND NAILS
The feet and nails require special attention to prevent infection, odors, and an injury to tissue. People are unaware of foot or nail problems until pain or discomfort occurs. Problems may result from poor care of the feet and nails such as biting nails or trimming them improperly, exposure to chemicals and wearing poorly fitted shoes.
Purposes of care of the nails
To keep nails harmless
To prevent accumulation of dirt under the nails and reduce occurrence of infection
Characteristics of a healthy nail:
A normal healthy nail is transparent, smooth and convex with pink nail beds and translucent white tips.
Care of nail and foot
Inspect the feet daily including the tops and soles of the feet and the area between the toes.
Wash and soak the feet daily using luke warm water (37º C).
If the feet perspire, apply a bland foot powder.
If dryness is noted along the feet, apply soft oil and rub gently into the skin.
File the toe nails straight across and square.
Avoid wearing elastic stockings.
Wear clean socks daily.
Do not walk barefoot.
Wear properly fitted shoes.
Exercise regularly to improve circulation to the lower extremities.
Immediately wash minor cuts and dry them thoroughly. Mild anticeptics may be applied to the skin,
Risk factors for foot and nail ailments
Patients with peripheral vascular disease eg. Diabetes mellitus.
Patients with neuropathy (degeneration of peripheral nerves characterized by loss of sensation)
Poor ill fitting foot wear
Poor knowledge of foot and nail care
Common foot and nail problems
Callus: is a thickened portion of epidermis caused by local friction or pressure.
Corns: is caused by friction and pressure from shoes. It is seem mainly on toes, over bony prominence.
Plantar warts are fungating lesions, appearing on sole of foot and is caused by Papilloma virus.
Athlete' s foot (Tinea pedis) is the fungal infection of foot mainly induced by wearing of constricting footwear.
Ingrown nails: Toenails or finger nails grow inward into soft tissue around nail resulting from improper nail trimming.
Paronychia is the inflammation of tissue surrounding nails following an injury. It is common among diabetic patients.
Foot odor or result of excessive perspiration promoting micro organism growth.
A tray containing
A pair of scissors or a nail clipper
Wet swabs in a small bowl
A jug with water for washing hands
A kidney tray with dettol 1 in 40 solution
Soft nail brush
A paper bag
Assemble articles at the bed side of the patient.
Explain the procedure to the patient and get his co-operation.
Place towel under the hands.
Wash hands of patient with soap and water. Use brush if the nails are very dirty. Soak nails in water to cut them easily.
Cut finger nails to the shape of the nails. Cut toe nails straight across to prevent in- growing toe nails. Take care not to injure the flesh.
Receive soiled wipers in the paper bag.
Wash hands and dry.
Clean and sterilize nail clipper/scissors and replace in their proper place.
Dispose off soiled wipers with the paper bag.