It’s always nice to get a pedicure. You sit back, relax in a beautiful massage chair and let the nail technician rub and massage your feet and the end product is pretty well groomed nails. However, have you sat down to think what can be lurking in that big tub of water you are soaking your feet in? Have you thought how they have disinfected the utensiles that they are using after they have used it on another client?


pedicures buyer beware


Many Chiropodists and Podiatrist will tell you they see many patients with foot and nail infections acquired at a nail salon. These infections include baterial infections, viral infections, warts and fungal infections like athelete’s foot. Here we will provide you with some tips on what to do or what to look out for when you have your next pedicure.


Cuticles are the nails barrier to infection. Many nail technicians cut in to cuticles leaving the nail exposed to a possible infection as the bacteria or fungus has free access to the nail root and matrix. Never allow your pedicurist to cut the cuticle, if needed just ask them to gently push it back.

Nail trimming

It is important to cut your toe nails in a proper manner. Many people cut their toe nails down the corners where there isn’t much visibility, possibly leaving a spike that will grow into the sulcus (the fatty side) of the nail and causing an ingrown toe nail. Ensure your technician is cutting your nails straight across or at a very slight curve with the contour of the nail. If you are experiencing ingrown toe nails avoid pedicures and see a Chiropodist.

Clean tools & surfaces

Infection control is one of the most important aspects of trying to keep your feet and toe nails free from infection. Fungus and bacteria can live for long periods of time on surfaces if not disinfected properly. Tools should always be sterilized in between clients, preferably in an autoclave, which uses high pressure steam to kill bacteria and fungus. Non-metal tools such as pumice and emery boards shouldn’t be used more than once because they cannot be sterilized. If an autoclave is not available Environmental Protection Agency guidelines state that pedicure tools should soak in the blue liquid called Barbicide for a minimum of 10 minutes . UV lights (the ones that look like toaster ovens) should not be trusted for sanitizing as they have a six hour process where really high temperatures need to be reached and with all the opening and closing to get tools in and out it is highly likely these temperatures are not being reached . For best protection visit a salon that allows you to bring your own pedicure tools.

No bubbles, no troubles

It feels very comforting to have the jets in the whirlpool bath turn on to massge your feet before the technician starts doing her work. However, the jets in these tubs can harbour a wide range of bacteria and fungus. It is best to find a salon that uses pipeless foot baths or individual bath liners to avoid cross contamination with previous clients.

Don’t do it if…

It’s important to understand that there are times when a pedicure is not suitable for you. People who ashould avoid pedicure salons and instead opt for medical nail care with a Registered Chiropodost are those who have compromised immune systemes such as diabetes, individuals with HIV, people with circulation or vascular problems and the eldery.

If you have shaved legs there are small microtears in your skin caused by the razor which makes you prone to allow bacteria in to your system. This can cause serious infections that can cause serious health risks. Wait at least 2-3 days after shaving to visit the nail salon for a pedicure.


To learn more about foot care call our Cambridge Podiatrist today (519) 624-8000.


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Wilson Health Services

Wilson Health Services was founded in June of 2001 by Dr. Jason Wilson.  The office has grown over the years and is now a bustling multidisciplinary office.  Our team includes two Chiropractors, 3 Registered Massage Therapists, a Physiotherapist, a Naturopath, a Chiropodist and a Atheltic Therapist. We offer state of the art therapies like Shockwave, Class 4 Laser, Decompression and Fox laser for Fungal Nail removal.

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