Many patients ask if being diabetic should prevent them from having a pedicure. Unfortunately answer isn’t exactly straight forward. People with diabetes do not always have the same symptoms or associated problems. The concern over why certain diabetic patients should not have a pedicure are usually attributed to a trio of associated conditions including neuropathy or loss of sensation in the feet, decreased ability to fight infection, and the decreased ability to heal minor wounds.
Patients with long-standing diabetes and advanced neuropathy are well aware that getting a pedicure would be a major risk for their feet. The time when this question comes up is typically with patients that are transitioning from normal sensation in their feet to decreased or no feeling in their feet. It will often take years for patients to realize how significant loss of sensation in their feet really is. Those of us with sensation in our feet will know immediately if we have stepped on something sharp, have something between our toe or in our shoes, or that our feet are getting rubbed wrong by shoes. Patients with loss of sensation cannot respond to these kinds of stimuli and the result is open sores and or damage that goes unchecked.
A pedicure although seemingly insignificant could result in devastating consequences for a diabetic patient. If the salon does not properly sterilize each and every instrument and water bath these sources could quickly be a brewing ground for bacteria and fungus. In addition a pedicurist that nicks and possibly cuts a patient and does not properly address the area can leave a breech in the skin providing easy access for the bacteria to infect a foot or toe. The practice of peeling back or removing cuticles is bad for everyone including diabetic patients. The cuticle acts as a natural seal between skin and nail providing much needed protection.
Before considering getting a pedicure, we ask that a diabetic patient seek advice from our office before getting a pedicure. At Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists we take every precaution necessary to adhere to sterile techniques and using evidence based protocol and treatment plans for diabetic patients. It is recommended for diabetic patients to have routine exams as often as needed. If you are diabetic and would like a foot check-up please schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary Friedlander at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists.