Tips for Pedicures and Foot Health

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Everyone enjoys a little pampering. It’s nice to take some time to relax and care for your body in a way that feels and looks great. That’s part of the reason so many people enjoy pedicures. These appointments are a way to invest in both your skin and nail health. A simple trip to the salon does have a few risks, though. You have to be discerning and safe to maximize the health benefits of foot pampering.

tips for at home pedicuresThe Truth about Pedicures

An important part of good foot health is taking care of your skin and nails. Dried out, callused feet with poorly clipped toenails are uncomfortable, unsightly, and increase your risk for painful problems like ingrown toenails and infections. Pedicures are one way to take care of your lower limbs; however, a salon that doesn’t properly clean their tools or use the correct techniques can injure your feet and expose you to pathogens.

Far too many people enjoy a day at the spa only to end up with painfully infected toes a few days later. This is a particularly dangerous risk for those with a condition that impairs the immune system, like diabetes. To avoid this unpleasant result of what should be a calm period of pampering, you need to both skip pedicures and invest in home care, or be very picky about your salon.

Home-style Pampering

Doing your nails and moisturizing your skin at home is a great way to invest in your regular foot health. Chances are good that you already have all the tools you need for the task—a pumice stone, clippers, an emery board, and lotion.

  • Soak your feet in a warm, not hot, foot bath.
  • Pat your feet dry with a towel. Rub them gently with the pumice stone to slough away the old, dead skin cells.
  • Clip the nails straight across so an edge is left on either side. File the nails gently with strokes in just one direction, not back and forth, to smooth the ends.
  • Don’t clip your cuticles. Instead, push them back carefully with a cuticle pusher.
  • Massage lotion into your skin and nails, especially places that are particularly dry, like the heel.

Seeking the Perfect Salon

If you decide to seek professional pampering, you can’t be too picky about quality in salons. You need to make sure the place you visit is properly equipped and sanitary. You don’t want to work with untrained technicians, either. Don’t be shy about visiting a potential place before you make an appointment to ask about their licenses and sanitation techniques. Some important things to consider before selecting a salon include:

  • Do they deep-clean and sanitize their foot baths between every client?
  • Do they use medical-grade disinfectant to clean their tools after every use?
  • Do they employ razors to trim calluses or try to clip cuticles?

If the salon doesn’t adequately clean their foot basins or their tools, they could expose you to fungus or bacteria. Shaving calluses with razors or clipping cuticles can nick and damage your skin, as well as provide another opening for infections.

If you do make an appointment with a place you trust, don’t shave or do anything to your feet or legs beforehand. You may want to bring your own tools so you can clean them yourself before and after your appointment, too. If you have a condition like diabetes that increases your risk for foot complications, let your nail technician know, and ask that he or she be extra careful. If you have any doubts about your foot care or a possible infection, see our expert staff here at Parker Foot & Ankle for appropriate care instead.

Pedicures are not inherently dangerous or bad. They can be a great way to invest in your foot health and pamper your body. You do have to be careful about your choices, though, in order to protect your lower limbs. If you have any concerns about your nail or skin health, don’t wait for a problem to worsen. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for an appointment or more information. Call (281) 497-2850, or visit the online contact page to reach us.