5 Tips for Preventing Wounds on Your Feet [and Avoid Making them Worse]
Feet can be vulnerable to cuts, scrapes, and sores. It’s part of the job description, really. Our feet are meant to take the brunt of our connection with the ground. We should always be cautious, however, to keep track of and care for these injuries promptly in case they have the potential to develop into more serious problems.
It’s not difficult to miss a small injury on your foot.
For one, we often hide our feet in shoes and socks much of the day; and our feet aren’t in front of our faces to begin with.
Second, circulation to our feet is not the best, given the effects of gravity. It can interfere with sensation sometimes, and this is even truer if you have a condition linked to poor circulation, such as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) or diabetes.
Poor circulation also comes with a reduced healing factor, so the one-two punch of not knowing about a wound and continuing to walk on it can be devastating. Small cuts can turn to big ulcers, which can lead to infection… and it just gets worse from there.
Keeping Feet Wound-Free and Happy
The good news is that wound prevention is not too difficult a task. It takes a bit of mindfulness and some habit development, but the avoidance of serious problems is the best reward!
Keep this tips for preventative wound care in mind:
- Check Your Feet Daily – This is the big one. Identifying small injuries or other abnormalities in your feet means you can keep track of them and contact us if things are not improving.
Make a habit of checking your feet every morning or every night. Do it when you step out of the shower or before you slip into bed.
Don’t just look, but feel along areas you might not be able to see. You might want to ask a loved one for help if you need it, or tools such as selfie sticks or small mirrors can be useful in seeing hard-to-reach areas!
- Keep Your Feet Clean and Moisturized – When you shower or bathe, wash your feet gently with warm water and be sure to dry them completely. Pay special attention to the areas between your toes, where excess moisture has an opportunity to accumulate and damage your skin if it stays trapped there.
On the other side of the coin, moisturize your skin to keep it from drying out and cracking, which can open the way for ulcers. Once again, though, do not apply too much moisturizer between your toes! Moisturize; don’t swamp.
- Choose Your Shoes Wisely – Any shoes that cause you discomfort are ones to avoid. That includes shoes that are too tight, shoes that rub against your foot, and shoes with narrow or crammed toe boxes.
Make sure the shoes you wear have the proper padding and comfort for your feet. For certain people, diabetic shoes, custom orthotics, inserts, and even socks with seamless material can help provide the support needed without risks of irritation. Ask us about what kinds of footwear may be best for your needs.
- Limit Your Barefoot Time – Going outside while barefoot can be risky if you live with diabetes or poor circulation. You must also consider the risks of picking up athlete’s foot or other fungal infections in public areas such as pools and locker rooms.
Shower shoes are your friend in public areas! Try to keep your feet protected with shoes in other indoor areas as well. Wearing shoes inside may be recommended for some patients at especially high risk.
- Trim Your Nails Carefully – Cutting yourself with your own toenails is a risk and—let’s face it—an embarrassing one at that. Manage your toenails with careful trimming, making sure not to cut too deeply.
If you have questions about the best way to trim your toenails, or whether you should have your toenails trimmed professionally, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If your toenails need trimmed by someone else, go to a podiatrist—do not rely on a salon.
Your Experts in Wound Care
Even when all the advice in the world is followed for prevention, things can still happen. If they do, we’re here to help.
Never feel hesitant to contact us if you have an injury on your foot that doesn’t seem to be healing well after a couple days, or any other signs of trouble such as pain, redness, swelling, or hotness to the touch.
The sooner a potential problem is discovered, the much easier treatment can be. We are fully prepared to clean out wounds and ulcers when needed, but we’d much rather our patients never have to face such developed problems in the first place.
If you live with diabetes or have other risks for ulcers or serious wounds developing on your feet, it’s best to have your feet regularly checked—at least once per year! Call us at (816) 246-4222 and let’s discuss your best plans for prevention.