With spring coming and our thoughts focused on getting out of the house and enjoying the season, getting our feet ready for flip flops and sandals becomes a high priority. However, when you head off to the salon for a pedicure or when you take out your own scissors and files, there are some serious issues you should consider.
Salon pedicures are meant only for aesthetics and should not substitute for a visit to your podiatrist. A salon technician should never trim corns and calluses, for example. These should always be trimmed by a doctor. In addition, if you’ve developed an ingrown toenail, schedule an appointment with your podiatric physician well before you schedule your pedicure. Ingrown toenails can be treated by your doctor in a number of ways, but should not be handled at the salon. Pedicure tools used in many salons may not adhere to standards for health and safety so bringing your own set of tools to each salon appointment will lessen your risk of infection. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has granted their Seal of Acceptance to the SOS Pedicure Kit, which can be purchased on-line or sometimes directly from your doctor. APMA member podiatrists can usually recommend good choices for individual tools for home use or kits. A good kit will include nippers, clippers, files, a buffer and toe separators.
Another way to limit your risk for infection is to schedule your salon pedicure first thing in the morning. This way, you are most assured that the foot bath has been cleaned thoroughly. If you’re not a morning person, make sure that the salon filters and cleans the foot bath between clients; always ask! Resist the urge to shave your legs before a salon visit. This will keep bacteria from entering any small cuts that may result from shaving.
Polish is great for healthy nails and today’s choices are endless. Make sure however, to remove polish regularly using non-acetone nail polish remover. If you suffer from thick and discolored toenails, this could be a sign of a fungal infection. In this case, do not apply polish since it can lock out moisture and keep the nail bed from “breathing.” Once you work with your podiatrist to treat the underlying issue that’s causing your infection, it will be safe to paint the nails again.
If you have diabetes or poor circulation in your feet, consult an APMA member podiatrist so that they can recommend a customized pedicure that both you and your salon can follow for optimal foot health. Many podiatrists suggest that patients with diabetes never have pedicures; the risks are not worth the benefits.
Source: Footprints, APMA Newsletter