Many patients ask me about skin and nail conditions, especially if pedicures are “safe”. There are many things to consider when going for a pedicure and deciding if they are “safe” for you personally. Consider the following:
1. If you have any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation) pedicures are not recommended. These are conditions where you can have significant difficulty if a pedicure results in an ingrown toenail or trimming of a callus that causes bleeding. Any break in the skin may result in a serious infection in either of these cases.
2. Make sure the establishment uses sterile instrumentation. An autoclave sterilizer is used to steam clean instrumentation between uses so that there is no transmission of bacteria or fungus. I suggest purchasing your own pedicure instrumentation and bringing this along with you to reduce the chance for transmission of bacteria and fungus that can cause nail infections.
3. Avoid whirlpool baths. Soaking your feet can feel great but the jets in whirlpool baths are difficult to clean and sanitize. This can be a source for skin infections. There are plastic liners that can be used in whirlpool baths to avoid having the water come into direct contact with the jets or there are establishments that use stainless steel tubs or bowls for soaks which are much easier to sanitize.
4. Avoid sharp cutting of corns, calluses or ingrown toenails. This service should only be performed by a professional podiatrist.
If you have any difficulty with your feet or if you think you have an ingrown toenail or fungal nail infection, see your podiatrist immediately for treatment! These conditions are usually easily treated if caught early. If you have any concerns at all about your feet it is best to have them checked before having a pedicure.
Ann C. Anderson, DPM , FACFAS, APWCA