As people with diabetes become more proactive incontrolling their diabetes, concerns arise about thesafety of certain preventive and alternative options.Pedicure services, often utilized as part of a routine regimenin good foot care, is one of the issues warranting furtherconsideration.

In 2000, a California nail salon with unsanitary pedicurebasins, was exposed as the point of origin for an extremelyaggressive and resistant bacterial outbreak, mycobacteriumfortuitum, infecting over 100 people—two of whom had diabetes.This particular bacterium caused the onset of mycobacteriumfortuitum furunculosis in the lower extremities, characterizedby the eruption of painful boils and abscesses, resistantto traditional antibiotic treatment.

Some cases took months to resolve, while others requiredmore aggressive treatments and even plastic surgery to repairscar damage.

What is a Pedicure?

With that in mind, the questions now become: “What is apedicure?”, “What are the dangers and benefits?” and “Is itappropriate for me?”

Part of a $6 billion industry, pedicures are manicures for thefeet. Once viewed as a seasonal luxury, they have fast becomeroutine maintenance for men and women of all ages.

Nail trimming, customized skin care treatments and massageare just a few of the pedicure perks.

Men even comprise the fastest growing client base.

Although all states now require licensing for pedicure services,state’s regulations vary drastically, often stopping shortof specifying the do’s and don’ts for health compromisedclientele such as those with diabetes or peripheral vasculardisease affecting the legs and feet.

Cover All Your Bases First

Discuss pedicure options with your doctor and customize anappropriate procedure to guide your service provider.

Before getting a pedicure, inspect the salon for cleanlinessand proper licensing. Inform your service provider that youhave diabetes and discuss the salon’s service and disinfectionprocedures.

Follow your instincts, if something seems wrong, it probably is.

The enjoyment a pedicure offers should never compromisegood health. It should enhance your appearance, comfortand well-being. In unskilled, untrained hands, a pedicure canbe just the beginning on a long road of health complicationsfor you. Making the right choice can make all the difference.

Be selective, be aware and enjoy.

What to Look for at Your Salon

  1. Cleanliness:
    • Trash: receptacles emptied and covered.
    • Floors and work surfaces: clean and tidy.
    • Smell: fresh and clean, or dirty and heavilyperfumed? Trust your nose.
  2. Disinfection containers should be visible and containingclean, translucent solutions. Cloudy solutions areineffective and contaminated. Your service providershould be able to show you the state regulations aboutthe appropriate cleansing solutions upon request. InCalifornia, for example, the requirement is for quaternaryammonium solutions. In times past less effective alcoholsolutions had been used.
  3. Service provider:Should be neat, professional, clean, wash hands frequentlyand wear gloves.
  4. Prominently displayed licenses for the salon andservice providers.

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