People who have Type 2 diabetes struggle with wound-healing.
This is because blood flow to the extremities (hands and feet) of a diabetic can become limited. In addition, the disease can damage nerves in the hands and feet. Therefore, if they sustained a wound, it is possible they would not feel it until it was too late.
Thus, even for a person who has done a good job of keeping their blood sugar in check, wound healing may be a challenge.
This can lead to serious infections that spread and ultimately lead to amputation.
There is no way you can ignore proper foot and nail care for your loved one, as a caregiver. You’ll need to learn how to care for (or help your loved one care for) their feet and nails to avoid the scenarios above.
In this post, I will share steps you can take to ensure your loved one continues to get their nail care, while reducing the probability for injury.
Foot and nail care for your elderly loved one who is diabetic
Clean the feet daily
Cleaning feet daily with a wash cloth and warm soapy water is the first step to providing foot and nail care.
If you’ll be helping them, make sure to clean in between their toes.
After washing make sure to dry their feet completely.
Bacteria and other micro-organisms thrive in areas of the body that are warm and moist.
If there is any break in the skin at all, these bacteria can enter and cause havoc.
Cut nails straight across
It’s also important to cut their nails straight across instead of curving them. A nail file is helpful here.
Ingrown toenails are a painful result of nails that curved when they are cut.
This can also lead to infections and other foot problems, especially for a diabetic.
Eating the right foods in healthy proportions can help with wound healing.
Fruits and vegetables for instance are rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C has been known for a long time to help the body with healing.
Eating the right proportions of protein is also helpful when it comes to healing.
So help your loved one enjoy a balanced diet on a daily basis.
Exercise helps too
As I mentioned before, diabetes can lessen blood flow to the feet.
Although, one of the ways to improve blood flow to the extremities is through exercise.
Even just a simple 30-minute daily walk can be enough to get blood flowing the right way.
Talk to a doctor about foot and nail care for your loved one who is diabetic
Podiatrists are doctors who are trained in providing medical care for the feet.
I recommend that your loved one sees a podiatrist on a regular basis to receive expert care and guidance.
They can even help with cutting your loved one’s nails.
In addition to this, a medical doctor could prescribe special socks and shoes that protect your loved one’s feet.
If you have a loved one who is bedridden, a doctor may prescribe TED (Thromboembolitic Deterrent) hoses to help with blood circulation. TED hoses may look like regular pantyhose but they are effective in improving blood flow.
For a loved one who is able to walk around on their own, your doctor may prescribe compression socks to help with blood flow.
If you’ve never heard of any of these, ask your doctor about them.
Foot and nail care for your elderly loved one who is diabetic is important.
In fact, their lives could depend on it.