Protecting Your Nails

Who doesn’t like being pampered? Professional pedicures can help us look and feel our best, but can often lead to serious problems, especially for those with diabetes. Taking a few basic precautions can reduce the chances of infection and lead to better overall foot and nail health.

First: Protect Your Nails

  • People with diabetes are more susceptible to toenail fungus, which could lead to complications if untreated.
  • See a podiatrist if you think you have a nail fungus
  • Best way to prevent toenail fungus is to keep your blood sugar numbers in range.
  • Best prevention is to avoid getting a nail fungus.
  • Protect dry skin: Scratching dry, itchy skin can create an opening for bacteria. Rub a thin layer of lotion, cream or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet after you wash and dry them. Don’t put any between your toes.
  • Keep your toenails trimmed and check them on a regular basis.
  • Cut your toenails to follow the curve of your toe to help prevent ingrown toenails
  • Take a few minutes every day for a quick inspection of your feet. If you have nerve damage, you may have calluses and sores that you don’t feel.
  • Trim your toenails after a bath or shower when they are soft.

Next: Don’t Forget your Toes and Heels!

  • Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause a lack of sensitivity in your feet and toes making you unaware of sores, blisters and cuts. This can lead to infections.
  • Three things to look for in a good shoe: 1) a large toe box so your toes are not crowded and circulation is not constricted. 2) Ample insole cushioning to minimize stress on the sole. Make sure the insole arch isn’t too high, which can cause foot stress as well. 3) A low heel made from hard rubber. This keeps pressure off the ball and heel of your foot, helping to keep calluses and ulcers from forming. A hard heel also protects your foot from sharp objects.
  • Wear socks! They should fit well and not have any seams that cause irritation. Cotton socks help keep your feet dry and cool.

Tips on having a Pedicure:

  • Check with your physician to make sure it’s okay to have one.
  • Avoid shaving your legs for a day or two before your pedicure as shaving can leave tiny nicks in your skin. Wait to shave until afterward.
  • Stick with a salon that is clean and practices excellent sanitation. Foot baths should be cleaned and disinfected between customers. Clippers and other tools should be washed and sanitized in a disinfecting solution.
  • Consider investing in your own nail kit and bring it with you!
  • Make a morning appointment so you are one of the first customers
  • Let your technician know you have diabetes before the pedicure begins and ask him or her to be very gentle. Pumice stones are okay for calluses and rough areas, but vigorous scrubbing is not necessary.
  • Ask the technician not to cut nails to short as this can encourage ingrown toenails. Edges should be rounded off with a file.
  • Never allow your cuticles to be cut. Instead, after your feet have been soaking for a few minutes, cuticles can be gently pushed back with an orange stick.
  • After your pedicure is finished, keep an eye on your feet and legs for any signs of redness or infection. If you notice anything unusual, call your doctor right away.
  • Postpone your pedicure if you have any infections, cuts, or open sores on your legs, feet or toe nails. Open areas make you more vulnerable to infections.

Remember, pedicure problems can happen to anyone, but when you have diabetes you need to be especially careful about protecting your feet. Infections can raise blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels prevent proper healing and may even cause complications that can lead to ulcers and amputations.

 

 

 

Sources: Everday health.com

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