While most men and women know they should see a podiatrist, or foot doctor, if they have foot or ankle pain, you might overlook one major reason to see a foot specialist: skin issues. Between ingrown toenails, fungus, and infections you can easily pick up from a nail salon, your dedicated foot specialist would generally rather have you do your own pedicures at home. Read below to learn about some of the dangers of nail salons and why you might want to consider caring for your feet at home.
It's essential to cut your toenails straight across and not cut them too short. Otherwise, as they start regrowing, they can grow into your surrounding skin. Over time, this ingrown toenail is likely to become infected and painful. Some patients try to treat ingrown toenails on their own, but it's important to see your foot doctor first. Without proper treatment, an untreated infection can spread or may even continue coming back. To prevent this issue when getting a professional pedicure, just trim your own toenails at home before your appointment. Let your technician know you only need your toenails filed, rather than cut.
Toenail or Foot Fungus
Those whirlpool foot baths with the soothing warm water might feel relaxing, but they can be incredibly dangerous for contracting fungal infections. Even if your favorite salon follows the most picture-perfect sanitation techniques, if they don't properly clean those jets or don't allow the cleaning cycle to complete between pedicures, fungus can wind up lurking in the jets. As soon as your technician turns those jets on, you're at risk of contracting a fungal infection from anyone prior to you who had one. Minimize your risk of toenail fungus or other types of fungal infections -- including athlete's foot -- by asking your technician not to turn on the jets for your foot soak.
For optimal protection, just trim your nails and care for your skin at home. Then when you go in for your pedicure, simply ask for a polish change. You can still sit back and relax in those luxurious massaging chairs. If you start experiencing redness, yellow toenails, or other nail or skin irritation after your pedicure, schedule an appointment with your podiatrist right away. The sooner they get you started on anti-fungal treatments, the better your chances of preserving your nail health and minimizing your risk of spreading a fungal infection.
Ulcers or Other Foot Infections
If you have an open wound, even if it seems mild, avoid getting a pedicure at the salon. Not only do you have a higher risk of contracting an infection if you have a wound, you also risk spreading any infection you already have to other salon clients. If you're planning on getting a pedicure, check your feet thoroughly first -- including between your toes. Because blood flow is limited in your lower extremities, which slows down wound healing, even minor ulcers or wounds can turn into major infections. If you notice that you have an open wound either before or after your pedicure, visit with your podiatrist before your condition worsens or before you spread the infection.
Contact your local podiatrist, such as Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic, if you notice any unusual signs and symptoms on your feet to get it looked at as soon as possible.