If I have peripheral artery disease, is it safe to get a pedicure?

If you were planning on using that gift card to the spa from Mother’s Day for a pedicure, you may want to reconsider if you have recently been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD).
PAD is a form of cardiovascular disease in which blockages form in arteries that supply blood to the legs, feet, or kidneys (the latter is more specifically called renal artery stenosis). This results in reduced blood circulation to your legs and feet, which puts you at greater risk of infections, gangrene, and in serious cases - limb amputation. PAD and diabetes, which also decreases blood flow to the limbs, often occur together, making matters worse. Because of this, anyone who has been diagnosed with PAD, diabetes, or both will want to be extra careful about avoiding wounds or sores on his or her feet.
So, what about that pedicure? Any time you trim your nails or have a pedicure, there is a risk of nicking the skin around the toenails, which can lead to infection. In a salon or spa, nail technicians may not be used to the gentle care someone with PAD and/or diabetes may need. Additionally, it can be hard to judge how sanitary the foot baths are.
If getting pedicures is important to you, talk with your physician about the severity of your PAD and/or diabetes and the risk level. If your risk level is low, you may be able to find a nail technician who has special training in pedicures for diabetics.
For those with more advanced disease or complications, the risk of infection is likely not worth it. Consider using that spa certificate for another service, or pass along the gift to someone who could benefit from a nice treat. You can feel good about helping someone else - and about sparing the risk to your own health.

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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.