Post by Lαrα on May 6, 2014 0:54:50 GMT -8
Correct foot care is so important for individuals with Spinal Cord Injury...for both walkers and non walkers. The more we become informed and aware of the associated health implications with SCI and put what we know into practice we take control of our injury and can prevent more serious issues.
Reduced sensation in feet
This can vary from one individual to another...My feet have altered sensation at different parts of my feet. They have altered sensation everywhere but progressively more numb across my feet.
I would say that they are approx 80% numb...which does cause issues for me as a walker. I have just had some insoles made by my spinal unit to help keep with some of the problems i have...(unfortunately they arent working at this point)
But as a walker it does present problems...i prefer to not wear shoes at home..so i wear just my socks and this is actually not advisable as it increases the risk to injury. I am careful and my floors are wood and swept and cleaned every morning and im very careful.
When i walk outside, i have to be careful more so where i walk..but this is for practical reasons..balance and steadiness etc. I wont feel ridges or raised areas the same on the pavement so more care is needed.
One issue to due the reduced sensation is the possibility of injury because you are less likely to feel when you may knock your foot or stand on something.
This is an issue for both walkers and non walkers. Its just as easy for someone in the chair or bed to suffer an unexpected spasm that causes a knock to the skin.
If this isnt felt or noticed, its very easy for this to develop into a pressure ulcer which can be very difficult to heal. Skin inspection is so important so should become part of an everyday routine.
General foot care:
Looking carefully at your feet each day, including between the toes. If you cannot do this yourself, you should get someone else to do it for you:
Looking is particularly important if you have reduced sensation in your feet, as you may not notice anything wrong at first until you look.
If you see anything new (such as a cut, bruise, blister, redness or bleeding) and don't know what to do, see your doctor or podiatrist (chiropodist).
Do not try to deal with corns, calluses, verrucas or other foot problems by yourself. They should be treated by a health professional such as a podiatrist. In particular, do not use chemicals or acid plasters to remove corns, etc.
Use a moisturising oil or cream for dry skin to prevent cracking. However, you should not apply it between the toes as this can cause the skin to become too moist which can lead to an infection developing.
Look out for athlete's foot (a common minor skin infection). It causes flaky skin and cracks between the toes, which can be sore and can become infected. If you get athlete's foot, it should be treated with an antifungal cream.
Trim the nail straight across to help prevent it continuing to dig into the surrounding skin
. The skin can be gently pushed away from the nail using a cotton bud (this may be easier after using a small amount of olive oil to soften the skin)
Due to reduced mobility and restricted movement below the heart level swelling is a common problem. There are several things that you can do to help reduce swelling.
Raising your feet at times during the day is one very helpful option and also wearing your compression stockings will help. We have a thread on the forum which goes into options and medication which is very helpful and definitely worth a read.Inspired' thread on swollen feet
Correct fitting shoes
Its so important to always wear correct fitting shoes wether you are a permanent chair user or not. Incorrect fitting shoes can cause pressure points that can also lead to sores..bunions etc and add to gait issues for walkers.Laces or velcro/buckles should always be securely tied/fastened to avoid slipping.
Always wear socks with your shoes too and wear shoes with a low heel and wide across the toe area.Be careful not to wear socks that are too tight and consider that they can tighten as your leg/feet may swell.
This thread looks more at related issues and helpful considerations Click here to read more
Nerve Pain in Feet:
Spinal Cord Injury causes nerve damage and this damage can lead to individuals suffering with nerve pain. For me this is in the form of persistent 'burning' pain all around my feet. Nerve pain presents itself differently to each individual.There are helpful techniques that can help relieve nerve pain such. I find that the burning in my feet feels less when i am occupied..im sure it is still there when i am busy but i notice it less.
There is also medication that your doctor can suggest.This thread goes covers the subject of nerve pain further and treatment options.
Inspired' Nerve pain information
Spasticity in feet
For many people with Spinal Cord Injury spasticity is an associated issue, especially in the ankles. I experience pretty strong spasms in my ankles but i feel they are helped with stretching.
The spasms also act as an indication for me when my bladder is full because this tends to trigger a spasm for me. There is medication that can be taken to help with spasms but these meds can tend to add to muscle weakness and fatigue. Its important to weigh up the benefits as opposed to the possible side effects. We have a very informative thread on the forum which goes into more detail spasticity and the treatment options. Inspired' what is muscle spasticity