The word ‘pedicure’ roughly translates to ‘care of the feet’, from the Latin ‘pedis’ meaning ‘foot-related’ and ‘cura’, meaning ‘care’. Pedicures, nowadays are synonymous with salon pedicures. They are part of a beauty regimen, which both men and women follow, but more frequently by the latter. In this article, we will discuss and contrast the salon pedicure with a medical or diabetic pedicure.
Salon pedicures entail trimming and grooming of the nails and cuticles, removal of dead skin on the soles of the feet and often the application of nail varnish. A typical salon pedicure might include exfoliation, moisturizing and massage of the feet. A salon pedicure’s goal is to enhance the beauty and visual appeal of the foot and also groom it. Hence, it is a cosmetic treatment.
For a salon pedicure to be safe and effective, precautions should be taken that include not over aggressively exfoliating and removing dead skin from the feet. Abrasion of calluses might break the skin and result in bacterial infection. Similarly, it is important to clean and sterilize the pedicure tools, for minimal transmission of fungal and bacterial infections to customers. Improper trimming of nails may also result in ingrowing toenails.
Despite the strictest precautions, a salon pedicure is not suitable for patients suffering from the diabetic foot. A medical or diabetic pedicure is highly advisable for such patients.
Diabetic foot results from diabetic neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease. Diabetic neuropathy can result in numbness and loss of foot sensation.
The lack of foot sensation means that a cut or sore in the foot may go unnoticed and quickly develop into a serious condition like a foot ulcer.
Therefore, diabetic foot treatment is a priority for patients with diabetic neuropathy. One aspect of diabetic foot treatment is diabetic pedicure or medical pedicure.
In contrast to a salon pedicure, podiatrists or foot care specialists performs medical or diabetic pedicure. One performs medical or diabetic pedicure in a dry environment taking care to use sterilized tools.
The podiatrist will initially examine the feet for the following features: ingrowing toenails, corns and calluses, the skin in between the toes, the health of the nails, cracks or ulcers on the soles of the feet. The medical pedicure is non-invasive and extends to diagnosis and treatment of corns and calluses, discoloration of the toenails, fungal infections of the feet, corns, calluses, cracked heels and athlete’s foot.
A diabetic pedicure should take into account that the diabetic patient may have lost sensation in the feet. Hot water may scald the feet in the absence of feeling a burning sensation. Thus, they are not advisable in the treatment. Nails should be cut with the utmost care in diabetic patients especially with regard to in-grown toenails. Any early sign of infection from an ingrown toenail should be treated with the utmost precaution to prevent future serious complications. In certain cases untreated foot infections, ulcers and sores may require lower extremity amputation in patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
Please take the utmost care of your feet. Consider consulting a podiatrist, for a medical or diabetic pedicure if you suffer from the diabetic foot.