5 Tips to a Safer Pedicure for Diabetic Feet
If you are one of the millions of Americans living with diabetes, you already know that the legs and feet can be affected by the disease in multiple ways, such as numbness, tingling, neuropathy, ulcers and more. Taking care of your diabetic feet is incredibly important, and pedicures can be a great way to maintain healthy feet, but in order to avoid infection, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind when getting a pedicure.
- Make sure you don’t have any open skin. Open skin on the feet and legs can quickly lead to infection in an environment like a foot tub. In addition, shaving can create micro-nicks in the skin that may not even be visible to the eye, which leaves your legs and feet vulnerable and open to infection. Also, keep an eye out for any other scrapes, cuts, or sores on the feet. If you have any of these conditions, you should reschedule your appointment until your feet heal, or contact your podiatrist for a referral to a medically trained pedicurist.
- Make sanitation an absolute must. It is always a good idea to speak with the manager of a nail salon to inquire about their sanitation practices. In fact, many reputable salons have no problem showing their customers how they operate. Be sure to ask how the foot baths are cleaned; they should be disinfected and sanitized thoroughly after each use, including the foot jets. For this reason, making a morning appointment is ideal, as it means you’ll be one of the first customers of the day and have a lesser chance of bacteria in the foot tub. Secondly, ask how the clippers and other tools are sanitized. Ideally, they should be cleaned in an autoclave, but minimum sanitation should include soaking them in a disinfecting solution. Ideally, you should bring your own nail kit with you.
- Communicate with your technician. When scheduling your appointment with a technician, let them know that you have diabetes. In some nail salons, you may find that there are specially trained technicians that serve people with medical conditions. Be sure to inform them of any particular conditions you have a result of your diabetes, such as neuropathy, so they are aware and can accommodate you accordingly. Ask them to alert you if they see anything concerning, such as a cut or scrape that you may not know is there due to numbness, and call your podiatrist immediately if they report anything to you.
- Avoid services that may lead to a cut or scrape. Your technician may want to cut your cuticles or scrape your heels; ask the technician not to do this, as it could lead to an accidental skin break. Foot wounds take longer to heal on diabetics, and combined with the surrounding environment of a foot tub, it can quickly lead to an infection. Be sure to ask your technician not to cut toenails too short and to round your toenail edges with a file instead of cutting them, as this could lead to an ingrown toenail. Lastly, request gentle exfoliation instead of using a pumice stone or abrasive tools.
- Monitor your feet. Make it a habit to perform daily inspections of your feet, looking in between the toes, the bottoms of the feet and the backs of the heels. Any sign of abnormality, pain, or aggravated skin should be seen immediately by a podiatrist. Be sure to moisturize your feet daily, especially in dry months, to prevent heel cracking, which can also lead to infection.
Having your feet maintained regularly can lead to healthier feet, especially if you have diabetes. This, combined with regular visits to a podiatrist for preventative maintenance, can ensure that you minimize the risk of dangerous conditions of the feet and legs due to diabetic complications. Request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists today for a comprehensive foot exam by clicking here or call any of our convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad.
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