Walking a Fine Line Between Pleasure and Peril

| Apr 1, 2004

As people with diabetes become more proactive in controlling their diabetes, concerns arise about the safety of certain preventive and alternative options. Pedicure services, often utilized as part of a routine regimen in good foot care, is one of the issues warranting further consideration.

In 2000, a California nail salon with unsanitary pedicure basins, was exposed as the point of origin for an extremely aggressive and resistant bacterial outbreak, mycobacterium fortuitum, infecting over 100 people—two of whom had diabetes. This particular bacterium caused the onset of mycobacterium fortuitum furunculosis in the lower extremities, characterized by the eruption of painful boils and abscesses, resistant to traditional antibiotic treatment.

Some cases took months to resolve, while others required more aggressive treatments and even plastic surgery to repair scar damage.

What is a Pedicure?

With that in mind, the questions now become: “What is a pedicure?”, “What are the dangers and benefits?” and “Is it appropriate for me?”

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

Nail trimming, customized skin care treatments and massage are 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 short of specifying the do’s and don’ts for health compromised clientele such as those with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease affecting the legs and feet.

Cover All Your Bases First

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

Before getting a pedicure, inspect the salon for cleanliness and proper licensing. Inform your service provider that you have diabetes and discuss the salon’s service and disinfection procedures.

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

The enjoyment a pedicure offers should never compromise good health. It should enhance your appearance, comfort and well-being. In unskilled, untrained hands, a pedicure can be just the beginning on a long road of health complications for 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 heavily perfumed? Trust your nose.

  2. Disinfection containers should be visible and containing clean, translucent solutions. Cloudy solutions are ineffective and contaminated. Your service provider should be able to show you the state regulations about the appropriate cleansing solutions upon request. In California, for example, the requirement is for quaternary ammonium solutions. In times past less effective alcohol solutions had been used.
  3. Service provider: Should be neat, professional, clean, wash hands frequently and wear gloves.
  4. Prominently displayed licenses for the salon and service providers.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Foot Care

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Posted by Anonymous on 2 September 2008

Pedi clear is an epa registered disinfectant that has been designed to disinfect the water you put your feet into which prevents dangerous bacteria and viruses to live in the water. This prevents any infection from being transfered from the salon foot bath to the client. Learn more at

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