To soak or not to soak

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated.  For those of you that know me, you know I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and said I would return to nursing if I ever grew up.  Well it seems as if I’ve grown up, atleast a couple hours a week.

I’ve recently taken a contract position as an in home foot care nurse.  Which essentially means I do home visits and assist with trimming of toenails and helping to keep calluses manageable.  I started in August with hands-on  training and classes.

This brings up a very controversial subject.  Should you soak your feet, or not.  It actually depends on several circumstances.

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Pampering Oil

There are several reasons to support each side of the argument.  In the non soak corner one of the biggest concerns is infection control.  When you soak your feet, especially for longer than 5-10 minutes, you actually soften the skin and this creates a greater chance of the skin being damaged.  The damage can occur when you try to clip or file a toe nail. The cuticle can also be damaged quite easily when it’s softened by soaking to long.  Calluses and corns on the bottom or sides of feet also become soft, and the underlying tender skin, can be damaged while trying to file or grind of the callus or corn.  The other concern is because of the cleanliness of the container you soak your feet in.  If it’s not cleaned properly, it could harber bacteria that could ultimately cause an infection.  It’s also been proven that soaking your feet in salt or Epson salt could actually cause you get to become dehydrated because the salt pulls “water” from the skin through osmosis.

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Callus Cream

So with all the possible complications, why would you consider soaking your feet.  Let’s face it, it feels good.  There’s nothing like a good warm for soak for achy tired feet.  When you soak your feet it softens the toe nails to make them easier to cut. It also softens calluses and corns which helps to relieve some of the pain, and makes it easier to file the softer skin away.  When faced with an ingrown toenail, the warmth of the water, along with the softening of the skin around the nail makes it much easier to gently lift the toenail and relieve the pressure

So what should you do?  It’s actually a matter of personal preference.  Once you understand why and why not, you can make a personal decision as to which you want to do.

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