Health Column: Do’s and don’ts of pedicures
July 7, 2015
Sandal season is back and so is the desire for pretty pedicured toes. Whether treating yourself to a pedicure at home or at a salon, make sure you're playing it safe.
"Pedicures can be very enjoyable, but they can also be quite harmful if not done properly," said Dr. Charles J. Daniel, owner of Grand Valley Foot and Ankle Center. "We see an increase in fungal and viral infections like warts and athletes foot during pedicure season. Oftentimes, these may be caused from a lack of proper sanitation at pedicure salons in between clients."
Colorado law mandates pedicure salon operators to clean and disinfect the footbath before providing a pedicure service to each client. But, cleaning and disinfecting are two different things.
"Cleaning is washing with liquid soap and water, detergent, or antiseptics to remove all visible debris from the footbath," Daniel said. "Disinfecting is the use of chemicals that destroy pathogens on instruments and other nonliving surfaces which renders an item safe for handling or use, such as EPA-registered bactericidal, fungicidal, or veridical disinfectants. A footbath should always be disinfected after it is cleaned."
Daniel recommends not letting the pedicurist turn on the jets in the footbaths.
"The jets can harbor bacteria and fungus," he said. "Make sure the bath you submerge your feet in has had a cycle of disinfectant run through it for at least 10-minutes."
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Any non-metal instruments should only be used for one person and then disposed of properly.
"Look around and make sure the metal instruments used on your feet are soaking in a commonly appearing blue liquid disinfectant," Daniel continued. "I'd be more wary of salons that use the UV lights to disinfect instruments between clients. Although, those do work, it's recommended that instruments are exposed under the UV light for several hours."
Below are a few more pedicure do's and don'ts to make sure your toes and feet remain healthy this sandal season:
• If you have diabetes or poor circulation in your feet, call us for our best recommendation for a pedicure to achieve optimal foot health.
• When trimming nails, use a toenail clipper with a straight edge to ensure your nail is cut straight across.
• Bring your own pedicure utensils to the salon to minimize the transfer of bacteria.
• Shave your legs before a pedicure. It may create small cuts in your legs, which can allow bacteria to enter.
• Use the same instruments for both a manicure and a pedicure. Bacteria and fungus can transfer between fingers and toes.
• Allow the use of a foot razor to remove dead skin.
• Round the edges of your toenails. This increases the chance of ingrown toenails.
• Cut your cuticles. Cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria.
Dr. Charles J. Daniel is a founding member of Grand Valley Foot and Ankle Center. He is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, specializing in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, endoscopic surgery and advanced wound care. Dr. Daniel has more than 20 years of experience in his field, which includes all aspects of foot and ankle treatment from palliative care to reconstructive surgery.