Foot Care Nursing - A Very Important Specialty for the LPN and RN
This specialty area for nurses LPN and RN, Foot Care Nursing, is an all-important integral part of patient care. The Nurse must be very cognizant of changes in skin integrity; changes that could result in tragic circumstances including amputation of digits, feet, and limbs. There are many who consider this specialty career one of the most important nursing areas. An area that, when properly recognized and treated, can halt further deterioration of the foot problem and lead to a full cure thus saving the patient life-long disability.The "diabetic foot" seems to be the most common cause of foot issues that can, if left ignored/untreated, lead to full amputation of the foot itself as well as the leg. The pain, numbness, and lack of sensation in the feet and legs is called diabetic neuropathy.
There are many individuals, non-nurses, who are interested in feet. I have to admit, I am not one of those individuals. I am very glad there are those out there who do like to use their technical skills to relive pain (through foot massage/pedicure). They truly take this seriously and seek formal education/certification as foot care specialists.
Many individuals work as cosmetologists and utilize in their jobs, manicures and pedicures, foot massages and foot soaks. I have to admit, I do love to be pampered like this. So relaxing especially the foot soaks prior to foot massage. These individuals later on decide they want to be a Nurse and combine their love of "beautification" (the feet/hands) and find out there actually is formal education/certification they can enter into to specialize as Foot Care Specialists.
When dealing with the feet, use of standardized assessment tools is very valuable to calculate the extent of loss of sensation. A full inspection of the foot is made for color, temperature differences, callouses, edema, opens wounds, necrotic areas, etc. The clinician also checks the nails for shape, color, texture as well as evidence of fungus.
Sensation of the foot is checked with a variety of instruments. One of the most simple instrument (tool) that is utilized is the monofilament. The picture attached to this article (avatar) is one type of monofilament utilized in the process.
There are variety of sizes that can reveal instantaneous results that can give insight regarding how advanced the loss of sensation is. This gives the nurse a starting point that he/she can use to advise further diagnostic testing.
I normally do not discuss my personal health issues in public, but will reveal that I have a moderately severe case of Diabetes Mellitus. I will not go into a lot of detail, but will say that I have diabetic neuropathy and have had a lot of numbness, pain, and loss of sensation for several months. I will admit that I did not take this seriously until recently.
On one of my very first visits, after admitting the severity of the condition of my feet, the Nurse Practitioner utilized the monofilament to check sensation. I selected the picture above for that is almost exactly the type she used.
A non-invasive tool, it revealed what I already knew. The results: I could only detect sensation in the middle toe of my left foot. I am fortunate that I have not skin breakdown, wounds, or nail issues. But, I am unfortunately diagnosed with neuropathy.
I now take my diabetes seriously and keep a close watch on my feet. I see my health care provider frequently and without fail, she checks my feet every visit.
In the United States, many Nurses are certified through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board. I find very few certified Foot Care Specialists here in my area. I read a lot about those from Canada who are trained and certified and have thriving positions as Foot Care Nurses. After doing much research in the past several months, I find The Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses is one of the best sources for those interested in this specialty area of nursing.
This is an all-important specialty area for many nurses. Please consider this specialty that could help someone keep their body intact and save their life.Last edit by sirI on Jan 7, '14