Pedicure Safety for Diabetics

Pedicure Safety for Diabetics

Diabetes can slow circulation, particularly in your feet and legs. It also makes you more vulnerable to infections. Even a minor cut due to an over-zealous cuticle trimming can turn into a life-threatening infection. Does this mean you have to forgo pedicures and resign yourself to closed-toe shoes? Hardly. With a little diligence, you can score a gorgeous pedicure while protecting your feet.

Choose the right salon

The overwhelming majority of nail salons operate on a volume basis, providing quick services for a low price. Diligent sanitization of pedicure supplies and an attention to detail both tend to drive up prices, so be willing to pay a little more. Read reviews, or consider asking a friend for a recommendation. Better yet, call local salons and ask if they have experience working with diabetics. If you talk to someone who highlights the importance of good sanitation or who says the salon sterilizes equipment with an autoclave, you've found a winner.

Be zealous about cleanliness

For most diabetics, a minor cut is not a problem. The problem is when bacteria travels into the cut, leading to an infection. Salons that reuse tools without sterilizing them make you vulnerable to potentially deadly infections. To stay safe, choose a salon that:

  • Cleans out pedicure baths after each use; rinsing is inadequate. The baths should be thoroughly disinfected
  • Sterilizes its equipment with an autoclave.
  • Does not reuse filing boards and other disposable tools.

For the most protection, consider investing in your own manicure set and taking it with you. If you purchase a quality set, you can even use it at home between pedicures, for a longer-lasting look.

No cuts to the skin

Your manicurist should not be allowed to cut you. Cutting your cuticles might produce a “cleaner” look for a day or two, but this look eventually gives rise to hangnails, pain, and irritation. Cut too closely, you can even end up with open wounds on your hands. Don't allow your pedicurist to cut your cuticles. Ask her to push them back instead. Because cutting your nails too short can lead to inadvertent—but microscopic—cuts, don't allow the technician to cut your toenails shorter than the tip of the toe.

Technicians are not doctors, which means they are unqualified to extract ingrown toenails or remove fungus. If your technician attempts to do this, don't be shy when your health is on the line. Tell her to stop.

No 'cheese graters'

The giant, cheese grater-like device used to remove calluses might be effective, but it's covered in bacteria. It can also produce some nasty cuts. Don't allow this device to get anywhere near your feet. If you want your calluses removed, consider investing in your own pumice stone, since reusable pumice stones can transfer bacteria from a previous customer's feet to your own.