Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures

Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures – Nursing is not just about medical interventions; it’s also about holistic care, ensuring the well-being of patients in every aspect. One crucial aspect often overlooked is the care of hands, feet, and nails. In this Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures article, we will explore the purpose, important points, factors affecting care, common problems, and specific care for patients with diabetes or peripheral vascular diseases.

Importance of Hygiene in Nursing

Hand hygiene is a cornerstone in preventing infections, especially in healthcare settings. Nurses need to adopt and promote proper handwashing techniques rigorously. This section will delve into infection prevention strategies and outline the steps to maintain impeccable hygiene in a healthcare environment.

Purpose of Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures

  1. To Keep Clean: Hands, being a more contaminated area, require thorough cleaning.
  2. To Prevent Skin Injury (% Scratching): Proper care prevents skin injuries and scratching.
  3. To Prevent Infection: Keeping hands, feet, and nails clean is a preventive measure against infections.
  4. To Promote Comfort: Maintaining cleanliness contributes to patient comfort.
  5. To Improve Grooming: Well-maintained hands and feet enhance overall grooming.
  6. To Promote Self-Esteem: Clean and groomed hands and feet positively impact self-esteem.
  7. To Detect/Examine Abnormalities: Regular care helps in the early detection of abnormalities.
  8. To Prevent Worm Infestations: Proper care is a preventive measure against worm infestations.

Important Points to Consider

  • General Physical Conditions: Assess conditions that may risk patients for infections.
  • Prevent Interruptions: Ensure a seamless procedure by preventing interruptions.
  • Soak in Warm Water: Soften nails and loosen foreign particles for effective cleaning.
  • Prevent the Spread of Microorganisms: Adhere to infection control practices during the procedure.

Factors Affecting the Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures

  • Infection and Injury: Address issues related to infection and injury promptly.
  • Vascular Insufficiency: Patients with poor circulation require special attention.
  • Systemic Disease Condition: Consider systemic diseases affecting hands, feet, and nails.
  • Poor Health Practices: Evaluate and educate patients on maintaining good health practices.
  • Sociocultural Background: Be aware of cultural practices influencing hand, foot, and nail care.

Examination and Common Problems

  • Examine Skin Surfaces: Thoroughly examine all skin surfaces, spaces between fingers and toes, and nail conditions.
  • Common Problems Include:
    • Calculus: Thickened epidermis, usually painless.
    • Corns: Caused by friction and pressure from shoes.
    • Plantar Warts: Fungal lesions on the sole of the foot.
    • Ingrown Nails: Result from improper nail trimming.
    • Athlete’s Foot: Fungal infection of the foot.
    • Rams Horn Nails: Long, curved nails.
    • Paronychia: Inflammation of tissues surrounding nails.

Special Foot Care for Specific Patients

Patients with Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Diseases

  1. Clean the Feet Daily: Use lukewarm water and soap for daily cleaning.
  2. Dry the Feet Thoroughly: Pay extra attention to the areas between the toes.
  3. Avoid Cutting Corns or Calculus: Leave this to healthcare professionals.
  4. Choose Appropriate Footwear: Opt for shoes with porous uppers.
  5. Combat Dryness: Use olive oil or lanolin to combat dryness, rubbing gently.
  6. Inspect Feet Daily: Check the soles, heels, and areas between toes for any abnormalities.
  7. Wear Clean Socks Daily: Ensure cleanliness by changing socks daily.
  8. Avoid Walking Barefoot: Protect feet from potential injuries.
  9. Use Soft Shoes or Chapels: Specially designed for comfort.
  10. Exercise Lower Extremities: Enhance circulation through regular exercises.
  11. Avoid Burns: Be cautious of hot water and hot water bags.
  12. Promptly Treat Minor Injuries: Adhere to strict aseptic techniques.
  13. Consult a Doctor: Even for minor injuries, seek professional advice.

Equipment for Caring for Hands, Feet, and Nails Nursing Procedures

  • Clean Basin (2 with warm water)
  • Large Tray (1)
  • Basin for dipping foot or hand (1)
  • Sponge Cloths
  • Towel (1)
  • Nail Clipper (1)
  • Mackintosh and Towel (1)
  • Over Bed Table (1)
  • Bath Thermometer (1)

Procedure for Hand, Foot, and Nail Care

  1. Collect Articles: Gather all necessary articles near the bedside for efficiency.
  2. Explain the Procedure: Communicate the steps to alleviate patient fear and anxiety.
  3. Handwashing: Practice hand hygiene to prevent cross-infection.
  4. Provide Privacy: Ensure patient privacy during the procedure.
  5. Soaking in Warm Water: Use water at 100-110 degrees F for effective cleaning.
  6. Nail Soaking and Cleaning: Brush the nails, clean between fingers and toes.
  7. Drying and Nail Clipping: Dry the areas and cut nails, collecting them in a designated container.
  8. Cleaning Nail Tips: Use wet cotton balls or gauze to clean the tips of the nails.

After Care

  1. Comfortable Positioning: Place the patient’s hands and feet comfortably.
  2. Replace Articles: Ensure all used articles and equipment are properly replaced.
  3. Discard Dirty Water: Dispose of used water in the sluice room.
  4. Clean and Prepare for Next Use: Wash and prepare all used articles for the next procedure.
  5. Handwashing: Practice hand hygiene after completing the procedure.
  6. Record and Report: Document the date, time, procedure, and any abnormalities noted in the nurse’s record.


In conclusion, caring for patients’ hands, feet, and nails is a holistic approach to nursing. By recognizing the importance of these areas and implementing best practices, nurses contribute significantly to overall patient health. Continuous education and the incorporation of technology further enhance the quality of care provided.


How often should nurses perform handwashing during a shift?

Nurses should perform handwashing at least before and after each patient contact and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

What are the early signs of complications in diabetic foot care?

Early signs include redness, swelling, warmth, and unusual sensations in the feet. Any changes should be reported promptly.

How can nurses balance efficient care with patient comfort?

Time management, effective communication, and prioritizing tasks based on patient needs are crucial for striking a balance.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice.

Name -Parika Parika holds a Master's in Nursing and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Nursing. In addition to her clinical experience, Parika has also served as a nursing instructor for the past 10 years, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for the nursing profession.

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