In-Network with all major PPO Insurances. Anthem, BCBS as well as CIGNA

Dr. Frederick N. Fedorchak &
Dr. Veronica A. Kacmar-Fedorchak

Board Certified Podiatric Physician & Surgeon

Pedicures are foot treatments that remove dead skin, soften your feet and shape and polish your toenails. You can give yourself a pedicure at home or visit a professional salon for exclusive treatment. But if you have diabetes, is it acceptable to get a pedicure? 

The answer is: It depends! People with diabetes experience unique complications with their feet. Diabetes increases your risk for peripheral artery disease, which decreases oxygenated blood flow to your toes, feet and lower legs. Diabetes also increases the loss of sensation to pain, heat, cold and more. Because of these complications, pedicures present unique risks for people with diabetes. Below, the experts at Dr. Fedorchak explore three reasons to skip a pedicure.  

3 Surprising Reasons to Skip a Pedicure

Pedicures increase the risk of infections.

When you have diabetes, you’re already at increased risk of infection. But at a nail salon, the risk is even greater. Many salons are clean and sanitary, but there is always the possibility that an instrument wasn’t cleaned thoroughly or a salon’s standards aren’t up to snuff. In addition, pedicures involve sharp devices reused on different customers, which exposes you to potential infections. 

Pedicures can cause damage.

In addition to using sharp tools, pedicures typically involve nail trimming and cuticle clipping. If your technician isn’t careful or doesn’t understand the unique needs of people with diabetes, they might trim your nails too low or cut your cuticles too deep. These practices can result in ingrown toenails and lacerations.  

Pedicures may hide new problems.

One of the most fun parts of a pedicure is selecting a nail polish color. However, with polish on, it can be difficult to spot issues with your nails or toes. For example, you may develop a toe fungus or ingrown toenail after your appointment. If you suffer from neuropathy, you may not feel these painful conditions. And if your nail is covered, you won’t be able to see it, either.

Important Steps for Your Best Pedicure

A pedicure is a fun and relaxing way to pamper yourself. But pedicures aren’t suitable for all people with diabetes. So before scheduling your next pedicure, do the following steps to protect your health.

Consult your doctor first.

Your podiatrist can advise if a pedicure is alright for you. They may have specific recommendations for what treatments are best or even know a local pedicurist with expertise in diabetic foot care!

Only go if your A1C is under control.

When your A1C is too high, you are at increased risk of diabetic neuropathy. With neuropathy, you lose sensation in your feet and lower legs. That means you might not feel if you are cut or hurt during your pedicure, which can lead to infections and other issues down the line. 

Make sure the salon is clean and sanitary.

There’s always a possibility that a salon isn’t following hygienic standards. Still, you should verify that the technicians clean every instrument and bath before visiting. As a person with diabetes, your pedicure needs to be sanitary and clean. 

Let the technician know you have diabetes.

When your technician knows you have diabetes, they can modify their practices to suit your needs better. For example, pedicures usually include callous removal with sharp tools that may cut you and lead to infection. Instead, technicians can use softening lotions. Additionally, you can tell them not to soak your feet for longer than a few minutes. Soaking cracked skin can reopen minor cuts. Lastly, technicians shouldn’t use cuticle clippers or sharp instruments to push your cuticles back, as this can lead to cuts and infections. 
If you’re considering a pedicure, contact the expert podiatrists at Dr. Fedorchak. Our board-certified podiatrists can help you determine what treatment is right for you – including if a pedicure is safe!