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Checking the feet and keeping them clean and soft can help prevent cracks and infection in the skin. This is especially important for people who have diabetes. Keeping toenails trimmed—and polished if that's what the person likes—also helps the person feel well-groomed.
If the person you care for has diabetes or has foot problems such as bad bunions and corns, think about taking the person to see a podiatrist. This is a doctor who specializes in the care of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist will come to the home if the person can't go out for visits.
Try to take the person for salon pedicures if that is what your loved one wants. It's a chance to get out and see people and continue a favourite activity. If the person has diabetes, do not have a pedicure. A pedicure is not safe for people who have diabetes.
You can do basic nail care at home. Usually all you need to do is keep the nails clean and at a safe length.
If the person you care for has diabetes, ask their healthcare provider for advice on foot care.
Try to trim the person's nails every week. Or check the nails each week to see if they need to be trimmed. It's easiest to trim nails after the person has had a shower or foot bath. It makes the nails softer and easier to trim.
To trim the nails:
Adaptation Date: 8/19/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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