9 Tips For Moisturizing Your Feet

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McDermott Footcare nursing foot care clients enjoy a moisturizing foot rub as part of our services. The reasons are two-fold: a foot rub is a soothing finish to excellent quality nursing foot care and it is a good opportunity to give the feet some much-needed moisture.

Skin is an important barrier that prevents infections in the body. Skin that is dry is more prone to itchiness, rashes and infection. Extremely dry skin, especially in the heel area, can develop painful cracks called fissures. These fissures are susceptible to bleeding and becoming infected.

Dry skin is also more prone to developing painful calluses.

For these reasons, moisturizing the feet is very important. Here are 9 tips for adding much needed moisture to the skin:

1) Wash feet daily with a mild soap and warm water.

2) While feet are still damp use a pumice stone to gently scrub areas that are dry and flaky, especially the heels and callused areas.

3) Dry the feet and immediately apply moisturizer. For moderately dry skin, a regular moisturizer is effective. For extremely dry skin, including skin that has cracks (fissures), use an extra rich moisturizer that contains urea. These moisturizers are available over-the-counter in well-stocked drug stores and department stores.

4) Do not apply moisturizer between the toes. Excess moisture that builds up between the toes encourages the development of athlete’s foot fungal infection.

5) Soaking the feet once to three times a week in a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar in a shallow basin of lukewarm water helps to improve the condition of the skin. Soak for only 10 -15 minutes since soaking for long periods dries out the skin. Apply moisturizer after towel drying.

6) For an effective night treatment try this: apply a rich emollient moisturizer to your feet and put on breathable cotton socks. The heat from the socks will help skin soak in the moisture.

7) For people who have difficulty reaching the feet, try this trick: put some moisturizer on a plate or other suitable tray. Move your feet around the plate or tray being careful to rub the moisturizing cream into the feet. Step on a towel and gently blot your feet to wipe off excess cream.

8) Alternatively, apply moisturizer to feet using a long-handled paint brush. Wipe off excess cream.

9) Ask your certified foot care nurse to recommend an effective moisturizer.

Related posts:

Vinegar Is Good For Your Feet

8 Tips For Dry, Cracked Heels

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author

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Healthy Now and Later

Healthy Now and LaterMcDermott Footcare is pleased to introduce and partner with Healthy Now and Later, an invaluable new website committed to providing timely information on aging well. Topics include meal plans specific to medical conditions, a U.S.- wide database of financial assistance and not-for-profits, as well as other tips for everyone 55 and better to live life fully.

McDermott Footcare interviewed Leah Korkis, RN, the nurse-entrepreneur owner of Healthy Now and Later.

 Leah, please tell us about yourself.

I graduated from nursing school in 2010, but honestly I feel like I was born to be a nurse. I feel especially called to care for the older population, so I made it a point to work in what I see to be the most complex field in adult care; neurology. I absolutely fell in love. It was one night though while I was at work that I got a phone call that completely changed my life. On the other line was my Grandma who was in the emergency room with my Grandpa. It quickly became clear that my Grandpa was having a stroke. As I looked out the window at the first blizzard of the season, I knew that I had to continue to care for the individuals under my care. Instead though, I cared for them as if they were my Grandpa or my Grandma. That summer I moved in with my Grandparents and became a full-time nurse and full-time family caretaker. 

One of my favorite activities is cooking. My Grandma is the gatekeeper to many secret family recipes, so I see cooking as a means of connecting the past to the present. Each recipe is like a symphony of flavors that I can bask in with friends and family. Cooking truly bubbles over into all aspects of my life; my husband and I even met in a market.

Why did you start Healthy Now and Later?

  As a nurse and a caretaker I’ve gained a new perspective on health and what it means to be “well”. It’s such a subjective thing, to be “independent” and “healthy”, and yet most people strive to maintain both. In creating a website I wanted to reach beyond the walls of the hospital to look at what can keep people healthy and help individuals explore their own definitions of “independence” and “health”. I believe that wellness is rooted in how one lives, what one eats, and who one is surrounded by (or who one loves). In an essence, Healthy Now and Later was made to inspire those 55 and better to live well, eat well and love well (now and in the future) based on their own definition of each. This is what living life to the fullest is.    

How will readers benefit from Healthy Now and Later?

Each article within the blog and on the Healthy Now and Later website has much thought and research put into it. As I mentioned before, the meaning of “well”, “independence” and “healthy” differ from person to person. My aim is to provide high quality information, so others can make well-informed decisions that are best for them.

What are your future plans for the Healthy Now and Later?

My future plans for Healthy Now and Later are extensive. I’m excited to be partnering up with other experts within their field, like Terry McDermott of McDermott Footcare. Weekly additions will continue to compile articles in our disease-specific recipe blog, hot-health-topics, and our nation-wide database of caregiver resources. It’s exhilarating to see some of the bigger plans begin to unfold even now. For example, this coming week we’ll be having our first giveaway product. But this is only the beginning.  

 

8 Cold Weather and Winter Foot Care Tips For Diabetics

couple enjoying winter

Here in Toronto, diabetic nursing foot care clients of McDermott Footcare are beginning to feel the change in weather. With the cooler temperatures, many clients are wearing thicker clothing, including socks and closed-toe shoes instead of sandals. Cooler temperatures call for a change in foot care routines to ensure the continued health of people living with diabetes.

Here are 8 diabetic foot care tips for a safe, healthy autumn and winter:

  1. Socks:  Wear thick, breathable socks that wick away moisture. Feet continue to sweat in colder temperatures and it is important to wear socks that promote air circulation and wick away perspiration.
  2. Keep feet dry: This goes hand in hand with the advice above. It is important to keep feet dry. Feet that are allowed to remain damp may develop fungal and bacterial infections. Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or after becoming wet from exposure. Pay particular attention to drying the area between the toes since this is where athlete’s foot infections most commonly develop.
  3. Proper footwear: Wear boots and shoes with a rounded toe box that allows the toes to wriggle comfortably. At the same time, foot wear should fit properly so that the foot is secure. Choose leather and suede over synthetic material since natural materials allow air circulation to the foot. Look for foot wear with adequate traction. Boots and shoes should provide sufficient warmth since diabetic neuropathy may prevent the person from realizing that their feet are becoming cold.
  4. Foot soaks:  Soaking the feet should only be done occasionally. Ten minutes is a safe amount of time to prevent over-drying or maceration of the skin. Maintain a lukewarm water temperature of 90 degrees fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius). Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature or have a non-diabetic person test the water first.
  5. Heated massagers, hot water bottles and heat pads: Because of neuropathy, diabetics have a decreased ability to feel hot temperatures on the feet. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid heated foot massagers, heat pads and hot water bottles.
  6. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: During the winter months, it is advisable to use an extra emollient moisturizer on the feet. Keeping the feet moisturized prevents heel cracks and fissures that are painful and are prone to infection. Avoid moisturizing between toes since added moisture encourages bacterial and fungal skin infections.  Ask your certified foot care nurse or doctor to recommend a suitable moisturizer.
  7. Check your feet:  Inspect your feet daily for swelling, heel cracks, dryness, open sores, cuts, bruises, blisters, corns, calluses.  Check for peeling and dampness between the toes since this is a symptom of athlete’s foot.  Use a hand-held mirror to check the soles of the feet.
  8. Nail care: Have a certified foot care nurse clip and file your nails regularly. Nails should be clipped straight across. Thickened, fungal nails should be filed down.

Related articles:

The Importance of Nursing Foot Care for Diabetics

Why Athlete’s Foot is Dangerous in Diabetes

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author

The Importance of Nursing Foot Care for Elderly Parents

shutterstock_3306989Increasingly, McDermott Footcare receives out-of-town and out-of-province enquiries from people requesting nursing foot care services for their parents or other family members who live in Toronto, Canada.  This indicates families’ close involvement in the care and well-being of their elderly parents.

Often, people express concerns that mom and dad are unable to care for their feet because of these common underlying factors:

  • a diagnosis of diabetes
  • arthritis that makes self-care challenging
  • limited mobility
  • poor eyesight
  • inability to reach their feet
  • a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
  • other medical conditions that limit self-care
  • the use of blood thinner medication
  • thickened, fungal toenails that are difficult to clip

In the elderly population, fungal nail and skin conditions as well as painful corns, calluses and structural changes are common.  An important consideration to note is that parents may be reluctant to show their feet or talk about foot-related issues because they are embarrassed by the appearance of their feet.  Patience and understanding are needed when discussing these issues with elderly parents since mom and dad hesitate to show their feet, even to their adult children. Very often a new client will say to me: “oh nurse, you’ve never seen feet as ugly as mine.”   Mom and dad need reassurance that they can seek nursing foot care without embarrassment or fear of judgement.

If mom or dad express pain and difficulty when walking, gently ask them about their feet.  In most cases, maintaining regular nursing foot care visits will resolve their concerns and enable them to remain active and on their feet.

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author

Nursing Foot Care: Frequently Asked Questions

Recently, McDermott Footcare was a guest expert at a community home care information seminar.  Here are some of the questions asked by the audience as well as frequently asked questions:

How do I know that a foot care nurse is properly trained?  Anyone claiming to be a foot care nurse should be able to show you a Certificate of Completion of an Advanced Nursing  Foot Care course.  In addition, the RN or RPN should have a current Licence to Practice nursing from a nursing regulatory/disciplinary body.  In Ontario, Canada, the College of Nurses of Ontario will be able to verify if the RN or RPN is a professional nurse in good standing with no disciplinary actions against him/her.   Only a RN or RPN can take courses leading to certification in Advanced Nursing Foot Care.

Why does the nurse have to take a nursing history/assessment?  As RNs and RPNs, we understand that there is a connection between the health of the feet and the health of the body as a whole.  Poor circulation and nerve function in the feet affect skin condition, and the ability of the feet to recover from open wounds and infection.  Certain medications affect the condition of the nails and skin, causing them to become brittle, fungal, thickened, discoloured, difficult to cut.   In addition, some medications decrease the body’s ability to fight infection resulting in fungal infections of the feet.  A properly trained certified foot care nurse will be able to satisfactorily explain the correlation between health, medications and feet.

Initial nursing assessment of a diabetic client.

How do I prepare for a home visit from a foot care nurse?  Choose a comfortable chair that you would like to sit in for the duration of the treatment.  A recliner works best as does a chair with a footstool.  If neither is available, the certified foot care nurse can improvise, creating a suitable area to place the feet.  One or two fresh towels are useful also.  There is no need to soak your feet just before or during the visit.

Using the client’s bed as a suitable work surface.

How long is a visit?  The first visit is usually a little bit longer since an initial assessment has to be obtained.  Typically, the first visit is about an hour, depending on the foot care needed.  Subesequent visits are shorter.

Will you teach me how to care for my feet between visits?  An important part  of quality professional nursing care  includes thorough health teaching.  A properly trained, certified foot care nurse should be able to provide appropriate guidelines for self-care of nails and skin between visits.  The RN or RPN will also be able to determine if further medical treatment is needed and advise seeing your doctor.

How much does nursing foot care cost?   Prices vary between nurses and in different jurisdictions.  The nurse may charge a distance fee.  Ask the nurse for their fee.

Can I claim this?  In Ontario, Canada, nursing foot care is an allowable income tax expense.  Some private insurance companies will reimburse up to 80% of cost.  Depending on the fee charged, the Department of Veterans Affairs will reimburse all or part of the cost.  Always ask the certified foot care nurse for a receipt.  Make sure the RN or RPN registration licence is included in the receipt since this is necessary for reimbursement.

Can I have a one-time only appointment?  Certainly.

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author

What To Look For In A Foot Care Nurse

Who is a certified foot care nurse?

Only currently registered, licensed Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses who have completed a certification course in Advanced Nursing Foot Care  can practice nursing foot care.  In Ontario, Canada, the public can access information on the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) website verifying the current standing of an RN or RPN to practice nursing in Ontario.  A certified foot care nurse should be able to produce a certificate of completion in Advanced Nursing Foot Care.  Don’t hesitate to ask to see it.

What services can I expect?

  • Obtain a medical/nursing history and be able to make correlations between medical conditions and medications as they apply to the overall health of the feet
  • Assessment of the feet
  • Toenail cleaning, clipping, filing
  • Removal of ingrown toenails
  •  Corn and callus reduction
  • Padding of tender areas
  • Foot massage
  • Assessment and recommendations for footwear
  • Assessment and recommendations for skin conditions such as tinea pedis and cellulitis

Who benefits from nursing foot care?

  • diabetics
  • people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • individuals with vision problems
  • individuals with mobility problems
  • anyone who is unable to self-treat conditions such as fungal and thickened toenails, corns, calluses, athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)

Payment and Coverage?

For Canadian veterans, nursing foot care is covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).  Ask the foot care nurse if she/he is a DVA Provider.

There is a fee for service for certified nursing foot care services.  Some private insurance providers will cover a portion of the fee.  Nursing foot care services are an allowable income tax deduction.

Always obtain a receipt for payments made.  Make sure the foot care nurse includes their nursing license/registration number on the receipt.

Other Questions to Ask the Foot Care Nurse?

  1. How do you clean your instruments?  In Ontario, Canada, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care mandates that foot care instruments are to be sterilized by autoclave.  No other method of cleaning/disinfecting will thoroughly sterilize instruments.  Some foot care nurses still do not sterilize by autoclave.  Before the first visit, ask if their instruments are autoclaved.
  2. Frequency of visits?  Typically, visits are scheduled for every 6 weeks.  This may vary depending on individual clients.

Where to find a foot care nurse?

  • online – some certified foot care nurses have online listings, blogs
  • home healthcare agencies may provide certified nursing foot care as in-home visits or in clinics
  • your doctor may be able to make a referral
  • in Ontario, Canada, Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) have listings of certified foot care nurses
  • word of mouth

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author

Summer Foot Care Tips For Diabetics (And Others)


In the words of George Gershwin, from his opera, Porgy and Bess, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…..”  It’s time to kick off our socks and shoes and feel the warmth on our hardworking feet.  It’s very tempting to walk about in our bare feet, enjoying  the softness of the grass and squishing the sand between our toes.

However, for people with diabetes and other people with decreased nerve sensitivity and circulation in their feet, walking barefoot could turn a pleasant summer day into a medical dilemma.  Diminished ability to feel different sensations in the feet as well as poor wound healing due to poor circulation can cause problems.

A person who cannot adequately detect sensations of pain will not be aware of cuts to their feet, especially the bottom and in between the toes.  It is not unusual for a diabetic patient to be unaware that they have developed a cut, splinter or other abrasion until someone, such a certified foot care nurse, detects the issue. By then, there is often the beginning of an infection which must be dealt with aggressively.  The existence of poor circulation, which goes together with poor nerve functioning, means that the body needs help fighting the infection.  Diabetics have a higher than average incidence of lower leg amputations.  Even the smallest infection can quickly become very aggressive.

Another reason it is never a good idea for diabetics to walk in bare feet is the decreased ability to feel changes in temperature.  The pavement as well as the sandy beach can be problematic if we are unable to detect how hot these surfaces can become.  It is easy to scorch and burn the bottoms of the feet without realizing it.  Even a minor burn can become a major infection.

Plantar wart from a public pool.

Without the protection of sandals or other appropriate footwear, it is possible to develop fungal, viral and bacterial infections from walking on public surfaces such as pool decks, saunas, change rooms.  Plantar warts, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are the most common conditions that are picked up from these surfaces.

Because we tend to perspire more in warm weather, athlete’s foot is a common problem.  Again, in diabetics and others with nerve/circulation deficits, athlete’s foot must be diligently treated.  Athlete’s foot that is allowed to spread can cause abrasions and infection.  Read about why athlete’s foot is dangerous in diabetics and what to do about it here.

Don’t forget to liberally apply sunscreen to your feet when wearing sandals.  Skin cancer in the feet often goes undetected.  For a primer on skin cancer and the feet, as well as pictures of what different skin cancers look like, read here.

 We often develop dry, cracked heels in the summer because of the amount of activity we do and because of the effects of the sun and hot weather on the skin.  Here are 8 tips for dealing with dry, cracked heels.

As well, with our toes exposed, women enjoy the pampering of pedicures.  Be educated about getting a safe maniciure/pedicure, here.

Wear well-fitted sandals that support your feet. Check your feet daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.  If this is difficult to do, have someone check your feet for you or use a mirror held against the bottom of your foot to get a good view.

It’s easy to take care of our feet while we enjoy the beautiful weather.  Have a wonderful summer!

Copyright Terry McDermott. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of author