Why You Should Never Shave Before A Pedicure

Even in the colder weather, I still love getting a pedicure and having my feet look nice! But I also must admit, I don’t regularly keep up with shaving my legs the way I do in the summer when it’s colder out. One thing I am always very careful about is making sure I never shave my legs the same day I go to get a pedicure. I always try to plan ahead and shave them the day before. Why you ask?

When you shave your legs the razor creates tiny tears in your skin, which is a perfect opportunity for bacteria to enter your skin. The micro-tears in your skin combined with the bacteria present in pedicure tubs is a perfect storm for creating a nasty infection like cellulitis. These infections can be very serious, and even lead to hospitalization.

Believe it or not, this actually happened to me when I was younger! I shaved in the morning and got a pedicure in the afternoon, and then developed a bazaar leg infection that took months to heal with the treatment of a dermatologist. Please learn from my mistake and make sure you never shave just before a pedi! Also, if you suspect the nail salon isn’t meeting sanitary guidelines, leave immediately! It’s just not worth the risk.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Managing Ingrown Toenails At Home

When you have an ingrown toenail, you don’t usually want people looking at your toes. They can be swollen, infected and less than sexy! So I put together this post about ingrown toenails and how to prevent and treat them, so you can show off your sexy toes.

Known to physicians as onychocryptosis, ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

Causes

In some cases ingrown toenails are congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People whose toes curl, either congenitally or from diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails.

The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.

Treatment & Prevention

Ingrown toenails should be treated as soon as they are recognized. In many cases, people with uninfected ingrown toenails can obtain relief with the following simple regimen:

  • Soak the feet in warm salt water
  • Dry them thoroughly with a clean towel
  • Apply a mild antiseptic solution to the area
  • Bandage the toe

infection

If excessive inflammation, swelling, pain or discharge is present as in the above photo, the toenail probably is infected and should be treated by a physician. A podiatrist can trim or remove the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure. He or she can remove the offending portion of the nail or overgrown skin with a scalpel and treat the infection. Unless, the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and wear shoes with adequate room for the toes.

trim

Cutting toe nails properly goes a long way toward the prevention of ingrown toenails. Using a safety nail clipper, cut the nails straight across, so that the nail corner is visible. If you cut the nail too short, you are inviting the nail corner to grow into the skin. It is the natural tendency, when the edge of the nail starts to grow in, to cut down at an angle at the nail edge, to relieve the pain. This does relieve the pain temporarily, but it also can start a downward spiral, training the nail to become more and more ingrown.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Tips To Avoid Infections When Getting A Pedicure

Spring aka sandal and pedicure season is almost here. It’s time to head down to your nail salon and get a nice fresh pedicure to prep your feet! Pedicures can make your feet look and feel amazing, but it’s important to remember to take certain precautions when getting a pedicure to avoid infections, fungus etc. Below are a few of my favorite tried and true tips for a healthy pedicure. After getting a horrible infection many years ago, I always make sure to be extra careful!

  1. Don’t let them tamper with your cuticles. Allowing them to clip or aggressively push back your cuticles can let bacteria in and invite infection.
  2. Be sure to have the nail technician cut your nails straight across or with a slight curve. Cutting too far down on the corners can cause ingrown toenails which can lead to infection.
  3. Be sure that all pedicure instruments are sanitized in an auto clave. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to see their sanitizing machines! Be sure to watch closely, as your instruments should come directly out of the sanitizer when they are used on your feet. Otherwise, there is no way to know for sure that they were properly cleaned.
  4. Bringing your own pedicure instruments is another great way to ensure they are cleaned. I always bring my own file, buffer and pumice stone to be sure I don’t pick up bacteria from someone else. The technicians never mind and it seems to be a common practice.
  5. Don’t shave your legs the day of your pedicure! It can open your pores, cause tiny abrasions and make you more susceptible to bacteria. I always shave the day before I go. The one time I didn’t was the time I got an infection…on my leg! The follicle was irritated from shaving and then the bacteria from the nail salon infected it. It was awful and I certainly learned my lesson.
  6. Going along with the theme of tip #5, be sure not to get a pedicure if you have an open wound, scrape, bug bite or injury in the area that will be soaked. It will leave you susceptible to infection.
  7. Be sure they properly disinfect the soaking tubs after each use. I like to visit a new salon ahead of time and watch what happens when they get new clients. Do they take the instruments directly from the sanitizer AND do they properly sanitize the foot tubs after use? Don’t be afraid to ask them what they use to clean the tubs.

Some of the less desirable conditions that one can contract as a result of a pedicure gone bad include:

  1. Fungal infections: If your nail turns yellow and starts to lift from your nail bed, this is often a sign of a fungal infection. These can be treated topically or orally with medication depending on what your health care professional feels will be most effective.
  2. Plantar warts: A viral infection that may not even show up for months after the pedicure. These are transmitted anywhere your feet get wet in a common public area, including pools, showers and nail salons. These are typically treated topically by your health care provider.
  3. Bacterial Infections: If your nail bed or the skin surrounding your toenails appears red and swollen, you may have a bacterial infection. Your health care provider may need to drain the area depending on the severity of the infection, and sometimes antibiotics are prescribed.

In order to avoid these nasty and inconvenient foot infections and fungi, be sure to take the proper precautions mentioned above.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.