Keeping Feet Healthy & Clean During Your Pedicure

It’s almost time to start showing off those toes in sandals again. Better head down to your nail salon and get a nice fresh pedicure! Pedicures can make your feet look and feel fantastic, 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 after a pedicure 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.