Getting a pedicure is a nice, relaxing experience. Most people go to the nail salon to let go of their worries and relax. When you get a pedicure you shouldn’t have to worry about your health, right? One would think so. One would hope so. However, there are hidden dangers associated with getting a pedicure that one wouldn’t think of. There are some important things to look out for when you head to the salon, so you can enjoy that pedicure… worry-free!
- Make sure the metal tools they’re using have been sterilized between EACH CLIENT- if the metal tools the nail technician uses aren’t sterilized, you can get a nasty infection. Look for tools soaking in that blue liquid disinfectant- Barbicide, for example. Some salons use UV lights to sanitize tools, however, they need to be in the “ovens” for hours to effectively sterilize the instruments.
- Be wary of allowing the pedicurist to turn on the bubbles. The jets in the whirlpool bath can harbor bacteria and fungus. You can contract fungal or viral infections like athlete’s foot and warts.
- Watch out for non-metal tools… these are not sterilizable, so they should be used on YOU, and ONLY YOU. Stay alert and pay attention to the pedicurist to ensure that you’re not coming into contact with any used non-metal tools. A great idea is to bring your own nail files and foot pumices with you to the nail salon.
- Be clear about how you want the pedicurist to cut your nails and cuticles. If the pedicurist cuts too far into the corners, that can encourage the nail to grow into the skin, causing ingrown toenails.
- If you’ve just shaved your legs, and have a compromised immune system- like diabetics and people with HIV, the elderly, or anyone with vascular disease or circulation problems… you are more susceptible to infection. You can get infections like cellulitis from bacteria being introduced into the legs from microtears in the skin. Better to wait till after a couple days post-shave to get that pedicure.
Diabetes affects millions of people each year. Diabetes damages blood vessels in all parts of the body, including the feet. The legs and feet may have slow blood flow which causes neuropathy (nerve damage). Once a diabetic patient develops neuropathy, it is imperative that the feet are well taken care of to avoid amputation of the feet or legs.
It is important when caring for the feet of diabetics to always wash and thoroughly dry the feet, especially between the toes. Next, examine your feet and toes for any redness or sores that may be there, even if you do not feel any pain. You may also use a mirror to examine your feet from the bottom side. Avoid wearing colored socks to prevent infections that may occur from the dye used in them. Well-fitting socks are also highly recommended.
Anyone with diabetes should have their physicians to monitor Hemoglobin A1C levels as this test lets the physician know how well the blood sugar levels have been controlled during the past 3 months. It is very important to keep the blood sugar levels in the normal range (70-110mg/dl). There are medications that a physician may prescribe to help with neuropathy of the diabetic patient. It is also advisable to visit a podiatrist if the diabetic patient is experiencing any conditions involving the feet. Toe nails may need to be taken care of by a podiatrist as some patients may cut to deep or not deep enough around the cuticles and risk having an infection that could occur.
While at home a person can take care of their feet if they follow instructions given by their physician or nurse. An effective treatment is using creams and applying them to the heels due to the possibility of extreme dryness. Be careful when using tools to remove the calluses as severe diabetics may not be able to feel pain, and this can cause a severe wound to develop.
Diabetic feet absolutely need to be inspected on a daily basis. Always notify your health care professional with any concerns that you may have about the care of your feet. Waiting to see if a wound will get better is not a good idea as it can turn into a life threatening condition. Gangrene is a serious problem for diabetics and can lead to sepsis and amputation. Early treatment and daily inspection of the diabetic feet are keys to staying healthy.