Health risks of pretty toes | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz

summer feet

Toenails keep growing, which means nail salons will be busy clipping, buffing and polishing toes. Tending those colourful toes, though, poses health risks.

The risks to consider include fungus, viruses and bacterial infections,

If the place you go to isn’t vigilant about how they treat the instruments between clients, there’s a greater possibility of picking up something that could make toenails painful. And even the most skilled pedicurist will occasionally slip and cut the skin.,

The risk really lies with the pedicurist wanting to do such a good job that they become too aggressive cleaning the cuticle, for example. They get their little scissors out and (push back and then) trim the cuticle, and that just opens the body up to infection.

Podiatrists consider tampering with the cuticle, which helps anchor the nail to the skin, a major mistake. Pushing back the cuticle or clipping it, both of which are common during pedicures, can let bacteria in.
Another common mistake made in pedicures is cutting nails too aggressively on the sides. This can lead to painful ingrown toenails that break the skin, sometimes requiring surgical treatment.

To avoid this problem, it is important to visit The Podiatrist.

While people can acquire fungus at a salon, the average healthy person is not likely to walk out with diseased toenails and toes.

In most cases of toenail fungus, he says, “there’s an immune system defect”.
Just make sure you aren’t being treated with a used pumice (a porous rock used for exfoliating skin can harbour bacteria) and don’t be afraid to ask questions” about sterilisation procedures.
The gold standard is to clean metal tools in an autoclave, a machine that sterilises instruments using high-pressure, high-temperature steam.

Cleaning tools in liquid disinfectant can kill most germs and viruses if they soak for at least 10 minutes, but that won’t guarantee sterility, the doctors say.
The only way to know instruments are clean enough is if you see them coming out of a steriliser.

Some pedicurists use disposable emery boards, and metal tools are put into a steriliser pouch and autoclaved.
Another major health issue is the soaking of feet before treatment. Fibreglass or plastic bowls are porous and can harbour bacteria more easily.

The Podiatrist warns patients about the whirlpool foot baths used in many pedicures because they are connected to piping that is difficult to sterilise.

The Podiatrist says higher-risk people should probably avoid salon pedicures, even at businesses conscientious about sterilisation .

This includes anyone with immune problems or poor circulation, such as people undergoing chemotherapy or with heart trouble or diabetes.

Diabetics don’t heal as well as others, and often don’t realise they’ve been cut because the disease can cause numbness.

People over 65 are also more susceptible to infection.

Foot care for those most at risk should be handled by The Podiatrist, who has many patients who come to have their nails cut and calluses shaved.
Any procedure that might seem like even minor surgery is not salon-appropriate.

Podiatrists’ tips for preserving foot health during a pedicure:

– Ask how instruments are sterilised. An autoclave is safest. Tools cleaned with a liquid disinfectant need to soak for or at least 10 minutes to eliminate most bacteria and viruses.
– Opt for a salon that uses glass or metal foot bath bowls, since they are the easiest to keep
– Consider taking your own instruments to the nail salon.
– Because nail polish used on many can harbour bacteria and fungus, consider bringing your own polish for the pedicurist to apply.

Get started on resolving your foot problem today.

Call The Podiatrist.


About Your feet and podiatry with Caron Orelowitz | Registered Podiatrist - Auckland

Caron Orelowitz was born in Johannesburg and emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. She studied Podiatry at The Witwatersrand Technikon and was in private practice in South Africa for a few years, before setting off to ‘the other side of the world’. Auckland Podiatry. Since 1998 she has been helping people of all ages who have problems with their feet, from the elderly, to sports people, and those who just want some TLC for the feet. At present she has 5 practices (with a satellite Diabetes Practice out West Auckland), owns a children’s shoe shop (Scooters in Remuera), and tries to fit in some exercise when time permits. Caron is an active member of Podiatry New Zealand (NZ), and holds the position of Treasurer for the Auckland Branch, as well as representing the Northern Region on the Executive Council. She is registered under HPCAA (Health Practitioner Competency Assurance Act), and is often seen attending (and organizing) Seminars and workshops. Caron has a special interest in Paediatrics and can often be seen on the floor showing children some exercises. ACC registered Discounts for Super Gold Card Holders, members of Grey Power and Green Prescription participants.

Posted on September 1, 2014, in Contact a Podiatrist, What is a Podiatrist, Your feet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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