Tips to Protect Your Feet and Legs

 

Why am I sustainable to complications in the first place? Due to my level of injury, the damaged nerves in my spinal cord, I lack sensation in my legs and my feet. For me, this is the perfect storm for pressure sores, blisters, and ulcers. If I do not address these issues right away, I have found it may lead to open wounds and/or infection.

My daily foot check includes looking for:

  • Ulcer
  • Unusual swelling
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown nail
  • Bruising or cuts
  • Broken skin between toes
  • Callus
  • Corn
  • Foot shape changes
  • Cracked skin
  • Nail color changes

If you can’t examine your feet independently, I would recommend having a care provider assist. 

I have also found that with my injury (C6/7), I experience:

  • Coldness of the legs and feet
  • A tingling, pins and needles sensation in my lower extremities
  • Burning pains in the legs and feet (usually more noticeable in bed at night)
  • Swelling in ankles and feet 

My doctor recommended that I wear compression socks for the swelling in my legs and feet. This helps with the amount of swelling I experience while sitting in my wheelchair. At night, I elevate my legs using pillows (wedge pillows work the best for me) and this also brings the swelling down. 

The sensation of burning pains (or pins and needle pain) I address with my primary care physician. Together, we determine a treatment plan that is best suited for my condition. 

I have yet found a solution for my cold legs. It can be summertime and my legs will feel like ice cubes - I suspect from the lack of sensation. It doesn't seem to affect me in a negative way. 

In addition to observing my feet daily, I also:

  • Cut my toenails straight across - never into the corners - and I gently file any sharp edges. If you can’t properly see or reach your feet to cut your toenails, ask someone to help you.
  • When I am not wearing my compression socks, I cover my feet with a clean socks or stockings without rough seams.
  • Due to my lack of sensation, I keep my feet away from direct heat such as heaters, hot water bottles and electric blankets.

It is always my ‘Golden Rule’ to seek medical advice early if I notice any changes or problems. 

It’s easy to take feet for granted, especially when the feeling is gone. Being diligent has been the key to my quality of life. 

Push on,

 

 Leslie

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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only.  Individual results may vary depending on your condition.  Always consult with your health care professional.  This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution.