The difference between giving a pedicure to a regular person versus a diabetic is that a diabetic may have circulatory problems which result in a loss of sensation to the feet, or highly sensitive skin. Plus, because of the circulation problems, sometimes the skin of a diabetic’s feet can be dry, fine and flaky. You want to treat your diabetic to a gentle pedicure that she will relax and enjoy, while also energizing her feet and getting them into smoother shape. With extra gentle care, this is an activity that your diabetic friend can enjoy and look forward to. Who doesn’t like to be pampered?

Things You'll Need

How to Give a Diabetic a Pedicure

Set your diabetic up in a comfortable chair with pants legs rolled up. Have your foot bath full of hot soapy water. Make sure it’s not hot enough to burn the skin! You might make the hot water slightly cooler than water you yourself would find comfortable, since a diabetic might not be able to tell if it’s too hot for their skin.

Take a good look at each foot before placing them in the bath. Check for cracks in the heel, tender areas or any unhealed lesions that you want to avoid scrubbing. Check your diabetic for foot sensitivity – ask her if she’s having any specific trouble with her feet or her skin or toenails. Ask how much pressure is too much when you’re holding her foot, ask if she is ticklish, or how much sensation she can feel. This will give you an idea of how delicately to handle your pedicure. This will also help both of you to open up a dialogue and make sure the diabetic knows she can tell you if something hurts, if she’s happy or if something needs more attention.

Place both feet in the foot bath. Adjust temperature if need be. Allow to soak for five to ten minutes. Offer your patient a magazine to read if she’d like.After they’ve soaked, soap up the feet, gently rubbing both feet, even between the toes, with the washcloth.

Leave one foot soaking, and remove first foot. Use your scrub brush first to remove and loosen top skin, especially around the ankle, heel and the big toe. Brush under the toenails (if not too sensitive). Rinse foot in the soapy water. Lift out again and repeat the process using the pumice stone this time.Use pumice gently where there are callous build ups. The back of the heel, and underneath the heel, the ball of the toe. You might have to partially soak the foot as you use the pumice to keep the foot hydrated.

Clip the toenails, being careful of the sides of ingrown toenails. You don’t want to poke into ingrown toenails and break the skin of the toe, since infections are easy to start and difficult to heal. Be conservative with toenail cutting unless nails are very pliable.Use an emory board to shape the nails and smooth them. Rinse and pat dry clean foot. Rub lotion on the foot, gently massaging foot, ankle and calf with lotion. Wrap foot in a dry, warm towel to keep warm.

Repeat entire process with second foot.When feet are both finished, dried and lotioned, have your patient pick out a nail polish color she likes, and paint her toenails!