How To Get A Safe Pedicure

By Gary N. Friedlander DPM, FACFAS and Jay C. Larson DPM
January 22, 2014
Category: Foot Problems

Pedicures are a great way to take a break from your day and pamper yourself, but have you ever thought about the potential complications resulting from a pedicure gone awry?  Thousands of men and women have shared their stories about post-pedicure complications, some of which are devastating.  If you think that this couldn’t possibly be happening at your salon, think again!  In 2009 a shocking study in Arizona revealed that 181 nail salons agreed to pay fines to settle health code violations in the Tucson area alone.   This study, and many more like it, proves the importance of asking your nail salon about their health and hygiene policies.  After all, we want to leave the nail salon with beautiful toenails, NOT a bacterial or fungal infection.  In order to prevent any complications, make note of the following guide lines when choosing a nail salon, and remember: don’t be afraid to ask questions!

The 24 Hour Rule – Do not get a pedicure if you have shaved or waxed your legs within the last 24 hours.  Shaving and waxing causes tiny micro-cuts on your legs.  These small abrasions are the perfect site of entry for bacteria.  Waiting at least 24 hours allows time to heal, decreasing your risk for infection.

Judge a Book by Its Cover – When you walk into a salon for the first time pay attention to your surroundings.  Does it look clean?  Do you see the technicians washing their hands?  Are they disinfecting the foot baths and instruments?  These are all things to take note of before sitting down for your pedicure. 

You Can’t Drive without a License – Make sure that all of the nail technicians have state issued licenses.  If they are licensed, at least you know that they had to take a test about how to decrease the spread of nail infections. 

Cuticles are Cute! – Ask your technician to skip the cuticle cutting.  Even if the equipment is sterile, the pushing back and cutting creates a perfect entry site for bacteria and fungus.  Cuticles are essential to the growth and protection of your nails.  They serve as the barrier between skin and nail, and without them you are at an increased risk of infection. 

Post-Pedicure Prophylaxis – Wash your feet with antibacterial soap once you get home.  Although most salons disinfect the foot baths between clients, some re-circulate the water between customers, significantly increasing your risk for infection.  Washing your feet with antibacterial soap when you get home will help fight off any bacteria that you picked up at the salon.

If you or someone you know has a foot or toenail issues that resulted from a pedicure, consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson with Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.

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