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Mother's toenails very bad

josephinewilson

Registered User
May 19, 2015
112
Lancashire
I had a message the other day from mother's regular carer asking would I cut her toenails as they needed doing and she wasn't allowed to do it. I had noticed my mother's finger nails were quite long but hadn't seen her toenails in months, since I am not around when she gets up or goes to bed; I see her when she is dressed and I take her out.

So I went round this morning armed with finger and toenail clippers. Her fingernails I did fine. (Nice long fingernails some people would be pleased to have :) I've bitten mine all my life..) When I saw her feet however,I was shocked, as the toenails have grown into sort of pointy horns - they're not nails anymore but big thick things and I couldn't really get the toenail clippers around them. I did what I could but it's not ideal. My question is - does this need a chiropodist's appointment to get them back to some semblance of normal or is there anything else I can do? It had never occurred to me that since she has had dementia she won't have thought to cut her toenails (or even, being frail, couldn't have reached.)

(By the way I don't blame the carers for not alerting me earlier because it has only been in the last couple of weeks that she has had increased care visits where they see her undressed. Previously they'd only come at lunchtimes when she is already dressed)
 

angelface

Registered User
Oct 8, 2011
1,085
london
Yes, a chiropodist is the thing. Some will come to the house, or may work from your local health centre.
And there are also the privates ones as well.
 

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,036
70
Durham
I think a chiropodist would be best to sort them out,they do a great job, then you might be able to keep them tidy after that,
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
Our local day hospital, day centre have chiropodists who are used to dealing with the feet of our older population. They will know how to sort out your mum's feet. Do you have any local lunch clubs or a day centre you can contact to ask if they can help? The local carers cafe would also be able to give you some local info.
Having said that any decent chiropodist will be able to help but sometimes the day centres have visiting ones who are more used to older people and are not so expensive as an ordinary clinic. Some sheltered housing complexes also have visiting chiropodists. We did have a poor experience with a home visiting chiropodist - not good and extremely expensive!!
 

josephinewilson

Registered User
May 19, 2015
112
Lancashire
Come to visit

They will come to the house? She lives in sheltered accommodation and it would be great (well, ok much easier for me, selfishly) if they could come to her flat while I am there to do it. I will investigate the possibilities including seeing if there is a chiropodist who visits the accommodation anyway-thanks very much!
 

Pegsdaughter

Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
128
London
A chiropodist so visits mum at home ever month. We got her via the care agency and it saves the problems associated with taking mum any where.


Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,715
Yorkshire
Hi josephinewilson
a while ago I took to washing dad's feet once a week, making it a bit of a treat - a washing up bowl of warm water to soak in and flannels for the actual washing - (even tried a good old fashioned mustard bath once; we both had a good laugh at that) - he seems to enjoy it and finds the 'massaging' soothing - I can check on his feet, make sure they're not too smelly and his nails are OK - it's fine wearing socks and slippers/shoes all the time but the feet don't get an airing so it's very easy to miss what's going on with them - I tend to cut my own toenails after a bath or a soak, so they're softer and more flexible
it's good that the carers flagged this up to you
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,893
London
You shouldn't have to pay for this. Get her referred to the local Foot Health Clinic which is a community health service. They come to my OH's Day Centre on a regular basis - every 2 -3 months, and they cut his very hard toenails with special clippers and check his feet over for other things.
 
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jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,606
Chester
I think you may have to pay. I asked at mum's GP and was told it is only free if you have diabetic, not for all elderly in our area.

If the nails are very thick and yellow it could well be a fungal infection, which the GP can prescribe tablets for. Need to be taken for 3 to 6 months.
 

Katrine

Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
2,839
England
My suggestion to the OP is to get a private chiropodist to come to the house. If you wait for a referral for NHS services you could wait forever. MIL applied 4 years ago and never got the service. My mum saw the NHS person once and was told not to come again because it was not a routine service, it was remedial only.

We have a splendid man come to my mum's house, usually every 4-5 weeks. He does her fingernails at the same time. He charges £23, which I think is pretty reasonable for a skilled service. IMHO it is only by skilled podiatry that gnarled thickened nails can be kept under control. Lay people should not be wielding scalpels, which is what is needed.
 

Suzanna1969

Registered User
Mar 28, 2015
346
Essex
Mum's feet were way beyond my capabilities, I nearly dropped my feeble little clippers in shock when I saw them.

I tried to get her seen by an NHS chiropodist but, because she didn't actually have a fungal infection as I thought, she wasn't eligible. Her needs were seen as 'cosmetic'!!!!!

My thoughts turned briefly to calling the local farrier. However a Foot Healthcare Practitioner, although not quite as qualified as a chiropodist, does a lot more than just clipping toenails. After a few false starts and changes we finally found a good one through our local Age UK who recommended the lovely Trish. She does home visits and is working on Mum's rather gnarly, yellow toenails and gradually getting them back into human form. She does Dad's too. Charge is £50 for the two of them every 2 months or so and, as she also deals with the hard skin, corns etc I think that's more than reasonable (thank gawd I don't have to do it - I have a 'thing' about feet!)
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
That is good but the one we had at home charged £45 and the one at the day centre charged £9!!!! that is a huge difference and the one at the day centre was a million times better and more skilled
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,062
Suffolk
Like others, I had such a shock when I first saw OHs toenails! Ugh! As has been said, toe nails are a forgettable thing! I took him off to a local podiatrist. After that, I got one to come to the house. £40 or 35, can't remember which, for the two of us.
 

jimbo 111

Registered User
Jan 23, 2009
5,080
North Bucks
Try AGE UK
I Have a good service from them
Charge £18 for toe nail cutting
and£7 foot care corns callouses etc (Total £25)
Good value
jimbo
 

Nellybell

Registered User
Feb 5, 2016
28
I would definitely get a chiropodist/podiatrist to do them, dad has been visiting one for a number of years now as his nails need filing with an electric type file as they tend to just become very thick rather than long. Costs about £20 every 8-10 weeks. The one my dad uses doesn't advertise home visits but does do them for existing clients.
 

Katrine

Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
2,839
England
That is good but the one we had at home charged £45 and the one at the day centre charged £9!!!! that is a huge difference and the one at the day centre was a million times better and more skilled
£9 is a discounted price. CHs and day centres have contracts with a registered podiatrist. They are forced to accept lower fees by the CHs. Admittedly they don't have to travel between appointments and can get more clients done in a session, but materials costs are the same and remedial sessions are time consuming. It is a bit of a loss leader for the podiatrist because they don't cover their costs at say £10 a head, but it is goodwill and good publicity when they rely on word of mouth recommendations from satisfied clients.
 

josephinewilson

Registered User
May 19, 2015
112
Lancashire
Thanks

Today following advice I handed in a self referral form to our local "healthport" which does an NHS podiatry service, if you qualify. They said they would assess her eligibility based on the form and get back to me. But they also said depending on her priority it could take up to twelve weeks... hmm.. I will also ring Age Concern now, following the advice from here, but her toenails are not normal cutting, much worse; I wonder if Age Concern does that? I can investigate private chiropodists - she does have the money -just that the first one I found online wanted £45 just to look at them - it doesn't seem as if it is going to be cheap.
 

Amelie5a

Registered User
Nov 5, 2014
93
Scotland
Recent toe experience!!

Ugh - I can sympathise. I never thought i was going to end up on intimate terms with Dad's toenails, but recently had to when he started to complain about his big toe. Then when I took a closer look, realised that all his toenails needed some kind of attention.

As he's under the care of the district nurses at the moment, they did a referral to Podiatry. Meantime though, Dad was really suffering and it was preventing him beginning to get back outside again following his accident.

So I arranged for a private podiatrist to come to the house. It was £32 and she spent 30 mins working away. I'd feared all sorts of things around the big toe - but no. The nail just needed to be sorted by her clipping away. Apparently as people age, their toenails can curve and thicken. She dealt with all of that in one appointment including filing down the thickened big toenails.

And that was dad fixed. He's now walking without a problem - and we've yet to hear anything from the podiatry referral.