Peripheral neuropathy is a condition commonly associated with diabetes, but can be attributed to other medical concerns. When your feet are affected, you need to take precautions to minimize additional damage to your feet.
Regularly Check Your Feet
If possible, you should engage in daily foot checks or have someone help you. Since the nerves that contribute to sensation in your feet are damaged or may not convey pain messages at all, you must visually inspect your feet. Determine a time of day that is best for your foot checks so it is easier to remember. You may want to examine your feet while you are preparing for a morning shower or changing your clothes for bed. Check the bottom of your feet for any signs of abrasions or foreign objects. Depending on the extent of nerve damage, it is possible to have a foreign body stuck in your foot and not know it is there. Look between your toes for any signs of irritation, such as fungal growth. Lastly, check each toenail to determine if it needs to be trimmed or if there is any indication that it is growing into the skin.
Address Corns And Calluses
Many people are concerned about the development of corns and calluses because their appearance can be unsightly. As a person with peripheral neuropathy, the development of these conditions is more than a mild discomfort or cosmetic concern. These pressure points can become ulcerated under the hardened skin. If you notice corns or calluses on your feet, you should immediately engage in a strategy to prevent them from becoming worse. For example, use small cushions that can be placed over the area where callused skin is beginning to form. You may also consider adding cushioning to your shoes, especially inserts made of a gel or memory foam material. Since these materials conform to your unique foot shape, they are a better investment than standard inserts.
Corns and calluses are often associated with poorly fitting shoes, but depending on their location on your feet, they may be indicative of natural pressure points on your feet. For example, corns on the fifth toe are usually caused by shoes that are too small or have a narrow toe box, because the shoe is continuously rubbing on that area. However, some people develop calluses on the bottom of their feet, along either side. In this case, the problem is associated with pronation, not your shoe. You would need to speak with a podiatrist about the appropriate shoes and/or inserts to compensate for this and reduce pressure on this area of your foot.
Buy A Pedicure Kit
Ask your podiatrist about trimming your toenails and whether it is safe to do your own pedicures. It is common for people with peripheral neuropathy to have thickened toenails, which can be unsafe to trim on your own. If your doctor agrees with self-care for your toenails, make sure you have the appropriate supplies. A stainless steel pedicure kit is appropriate because the tools are designed for use on your toes and the material is easy to sterilize.
Many people trim their toenails with a sharp pair of scissors or fingernail clippers. Trimming your toenails with scissors is especially dangerous and increases your chances of cutting yourself. If you look closely at fingernail clippers in comparison to toenail clippers, not only are fingernail clippers smaller, but they are shaped differently. This difference in shape is because your toenails should be shaped differently to reduce the likelihood of ingrown toenails. Your toenail should be more square, and any sharp corners should be smoothed with a file. Another way to reduce ingrown toenails is to never trim your them shorter than the edge of your toe. This way the corners never have the opportunity to grow into the skin.
Peripheral neuropathy can cause significant damage to your feet. Fortunately, engaging in proper foot care can reduce some common complications associated with the condition. For more information, talk to a foot doctor at a location such as Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC.