Picture of female feet with flower on it after a pedicure

What To Watch Out For When Getting A Pedicure

Patients often ask our physicians about what we think about pedicures.   As long as you don’t have an open sore on your foot, it is usually OK to get a pedicure.  However there are a few precautions to take.

Don’t shave your legs 24 hours before you go.

This may seem an odd request, however shaving can cause micro cuts in your legs, and this accompanied by soaking in a tub may increase chances for infection.  Bacteria is everywhere, and it just needs a chance to get under  your skin. A tiny cut on your legs could be the perfect way!  Bacteria in the skin can cause anything from a local infection to a more serious deep infection that can enter the bloodstream and you may need antibiotics for treatment.  Other more serious infections can occur that would need hospitalization if the infection gets out of hand.  So prevent it in the first place, make sure you don't shave your legs before you go.  In addition, if you have an open sore or a blister, all the more reason to skip it for now. 

Be sure the instruments are sterilized. 

It is not enough that the instruments appear to be clean, but it is important that you see that they are sterilized.  The pedicurist should open a new package of freshly sterilized instruments for each customer.  Sterilization equipment is affordable, and it is worth the questioning to ask if a sterilization unit is being used.  Some salons have the option of having each client buy their own set of instruments and keep them on hand; that way cross contamination is not an issue.

Make sure the tub is cleaned thoroughly between clients. 

Without proper sanitizing of the tub, anything from bacteria to fungus to viruses can thrive in a moist, damp environment.  Before you soak those feet, make sure the tub is clean. If you don't see them cleaning the tub, feel free to ask!

Consider bringing your own nail polish – or at least your own basecoat. 

If you think about it, many people use that same polish and then it sits on the shelf, to be used again and again by multiple clients.  Who knows what may be transferred from one nail to another? If you bring your own polish, then this minimizes any transfer of bacteria or fungus from one client to another.  Our office carries a brand of nail polish that we love, Dr. Remedy.  It is toluene and formaldeyhde free, and is available in top coat and a base coat too. 

Make sure the salon does not use blades. 

This is actually against the law in Illinois and other states, as using a blade to remove what appears to be excess skin. This practice is actually outside of the pedicurists scope of practice.  Plus, our physicians have seen far too many infections due to over aggressive removal of simple corns and calluses with a blade.  If a pedicurist offers to remove calluses on the bottom of your feet with a blade, simply refuse, or an over aggressive callus remover may end up in a cut or sore.  Especially in those patients with diabetes or weak circulation, a simple sore can easily turn into an infection or ulcer that may become infected and may need oral antibiotics, or even worse, hospitalization and surgery. 

So go ahead and treat yourself with a pedicure!  Just be sure to take certain precautions.  And if you ever have any questions regarding foot and ankle issues, do not hesitate to visit our office. For information on how to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, visit our home page here.