How can I get a safe pedicure?

James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatric Medicine

A pedicure is a great way to pamper your feet, but be aware that state regulations and licensing requirements for professional salons vary and are not always well enforced. If you go to a salon, make sure the pedicurist sterilizes any instruments thoroughly to reduce the chance of passing on a toenail fungus. Reusable instruments should be disinfected for at least 10 minutes in either a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved high-level disinfectant solution or in a disinfectant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, then stored in a clean, dry container.

The safest option is for the salon to use disposable instruments, which are discarded after each client. Many doctors recommend that you bring your own instruments to a commercial pedicurist. Devices like whirlpool foot baths that are shared by clients also need to be disinfected regularly. Finally, to avoid getting an unwanted infection, do not let a pedicurist file corns or calluses or use any sharp instrument on your feet.

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine
Overall, pedicures are okay but make sure the pedicure technicians use disposable blades and sterile equipment. Discourage too much cuticle work. If you have markedly yellow, thick nails, then stick to having the pedicure technicians smooth out your calluses and consider leaving nail polish off for awhile (a few weeks to a couple months) while you treat the toenail fungus. Ask them to cut your toenails strait across (not curvy, like fingernails) to help avoid ingrown nails.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.