Pedicure Health Risks And How To Avoid Them

by Roxanne C.
Pedicure Health Risks And How To Avoid Them

{I’m so glad to have Nicky tell us about the things we need to watch out for when going for a pedicure session. She deals with feet a lot, and has some valuable advice to share. Read on!}


Getting a professional pedicure can be very relaxing. However, if you knew of the dangers involved, you might think twice before indulging. I don’t want to scare you off, but the reality is that it may be difficult for a public pedicurist to keep equipment clean and sanitary, and practices can often be wanting.


As a result, many customers have developed complications and/or serious illness following a professional pedicure. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • In Benton, Arkansas, a woman developed a serious foot infection following a pedicure. She had to spend time in hospital in order to recover. The infection was caused by a minor injury inflicted with a pumice stone.
  • In Mar Vista, California, a woman gradually developed discolouration of her toenails after a spa pedicure. This turned out to be a fungal infection, for which she was prescribed oral anti-fungal medication, which is a type of medication that puts a person at risk for liver damage. After taking the medication for nine months, the fungus was still present. She eventually had to have her toenails removed.


In this article, I will outline the frightening possibilities you might meet and provide some smart tips about precautions you can take to avoid the danger.


Dangers You Are Likely To Encounter When Getting A Professional Pedicure


1. Instruments that are left open to air are very likely to be contaminated. This is no small matter as flesh-eating staph bacteria, mould and viruses can be transferred to your skin via unsterilised and/or improperly stored instruments.


2. It’s sad but basic cleanliness is often missing in pedicure salons. Clutter and poor hygiene habits on the part of the attendants put you at risk.


3. Foot spas and baths are very hard to sterilise, and they are usually not. A shared foot spa is typically a hot, whirling stew of mycobacterium, MRSA, fungus that leads to athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, swine flu virus, HPV and more. In order to clean thoroughly, attendants must drain all the water and scrub the walls of the spa between clients. Additionally, spas should have a pipeless drainage system to prevent harbouring of contaminants.


4. Inadequate sterilisation technique compounds the problem of improper storage. Many spas only use liquid disinfectant to sterilise instruments. This is inadequate. Instruments should be irradiated or steamed and treated with a chemical germicide or disinfectant for proper sterilisation.


5. Reuse of disposable tools, such as orange sticks, files and buffers also puts you at risk. If you notice that these items seem to have been used previously, do not submit to treatment.


What Can You Do To Avoid Problems?


1. I strongly recommend going spa shopping before you make an appointment. Look up spas online and talk with your friends and relations to gather recommendations. Visit several spas and interview the owners and staff to learn about the policies and cleaning and tool disinfecting practices of the establishment.

Inspect the establishment yourself to see whether or not it is clean and well kept. You needn’t feel shy about doing this. Remember that you are the customer and you are parting with your hard-earned money in order to purchase a service.


2. Once you have chosen a salon, you should try to get the first appointment of the day. This will ensure that you are visiting the spa at its cleanest time.


3. Skip shaving your legs just before visiting the spa. You should have at least 24 hours between leg shaving and a spa treatment. Shaving compromises the integrity of your skin, and even very slight nicks and cuts can let germs and fungus into your system.


4. My advice as a professional podiatrist is to skip the pedicure if you have any injury (even an insect bite) on your legs, ankles or feet.


5. Take these precautions:

  • Don’t allow calluses and rough spots to be reduced by cutting. They must be “sanded down” with a sanitary filing instrument for maximum safety. Cutting gives bacteria and fungus an inroad.
  • Be certain the pedicurist trims toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. Watch for this on your initial spa inspections.
  • Don’t allow your cuticles to be trimmed. Cuticles are a natural barrier to diseases. Trimming them compromises the safety of your toenails.
  • Save nail painting for special occasions only. Having your nails covered with polish predisposes them to fungal infection.
  • Don’t use a whirlpool or footbath at a spa. Get your own to use at home for maximum safety.


6. Be vigilant following your pedicure. Watch for rashes, pimples, boils, warts, pain and/or itchiness. If any problems arise, see your doctor or podiatrist right away.


Is It Safe And Worthwhile To Get A Professional Pedicure?


While getting a professional pedicure can be the ultimate in pampering, you must decide for yourself whether or not it is worth the risk. Consider the fact that you are paying for a service that you might have to pay for over and over again, and that this service carries quite a bit of serious risk.


With this in mind, you may very well decide to purchase your own foot spa and high quality foot care instruments so that you can eliminate these risks with your own personal home spa treatment. Trust me, this smart decision can save you time, money and a world of complication and trouble.


{Author Bio: This is a guest post written by Nicky Ellis who is a certified podiatrist in London, UK and also have her own blog about foot care.}