Are Pedicures Actually Good for Your Feet?

Nothing says relaxation like treating yourself to a mani pedi after a particularly long work week. You look good, you feel good, what could be wrong? Well, a lot of podiatrists have a mildly negative opinion about pedicures. While you're feeling scrubbed, smooth and clean, a pedicure done wrong can do a number on your feet. 

What makes pedicures unsafe?

It's pretty common to see patients in the podiatry office with an ingrown toenail, or a bacterial infection, often stemming from a pedicure. If a salon isn't following proper sanitation procedures, the tools they use can easily spread bacterial or viral infections. A clean instrument is not the same as a sterile instrument: using a topical cleanser or disinfectant gets rid of most, but not all the bacteria present on the surface, while a sterilized tool removes all of the present bacteria. Properly sanitizing salon tools involves an oven-like device called an autoclave that uses high-temperature pressurized steam to kill germs. Check with your local salon to see if they use one for cleaning their tools, otherwise you can always bring a set of your own tools from home. They're relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at a drug or beauty store. 

The techniques used to cut and clean your nails at a salon can also affect nail health. Nails should be cut straight across, using a straight edge tool. Rounding the edges of your nails or digging out the corners can actually cause ingrown toenails. Use of a gentle pumice stone is just fine, but try to avoid using a razor to remove corns or calluses. 

With that in mind, a pedicure can be a lovely relaxing treat to yourself. Just make sure you're taking the precautions to make sure you're going to a clean and reputable salon! 

If you feel like you might have developed a foot or nail infection, give Dr. Parikh a call. As lovely as pedicures can be, covering up a problem with polish won't make it go away, and can even worsen the condition. Consult Dr. Parikh for regular care of your feet and nails!