A few warm days in the Oklahoma City area and people start thinking about open-toed shoes and getting the first pedicure of the season. Before you book your appointment, however, we at Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle want to recommend that you do a little investigating first. Nail salons can be a fungal and bacterial infection hot spot. It’s important to find out if proper sanitary techniques are in place before putting your feet in the salon’s hands and risking athlete’s foot, warts and fungal toenails. Here are some checkpoints to look for:
- Do a tool check—one of the quickest ways to spread a fungal infection is through pedicure tools. It’s best if your salon opens a fresh set of tools for each pedicure but if that is not the case at the place you go tools should be soaking in between uses in a blue liquid disinfectant. Some salons use UV light sanitizers but unless the tools are exposed for 6 hours it’s unlikely that all fungi and bacteria are being eliminated. Be aware that non-metal tools cannot be properly sanitized. Orange sticks, pumice stones and buffers should not be shared. One way to be safe is to bring your own tools.
- Skip the bubbles—the whirlpool pipes in a footbath are a great place for fungi and bacteria to hide and thrive. Your best choice is a pipeless foot bath. Disposable tub liners are also a good precaution.
- Wait to shave until after your pedicure—shaving your legs creates micro cuts in the skin and greatly increases your risk of infection entering the body.
- Avoid “special” days–yes, it’s tempting to save the extra $20 on the mani/pedi combo but lots of other people have the same idea creating a busy scenario at the salon which may mean cutting corners when it comes to sanitary procedures.
- Get the right cut—be sure to inform the person doing the pedicure that you want your toenails cut straight across. Toenails cut or filed to have curved edges can lead to ingrown nails.
Signs of a fungal nail infection include discoloration, thickening of the nail and brittleness. If you notice these symptoms or any skin rashes on your feet or between the toes, contact our Edmond or Norman office so our podiatrist Dr. A. Bil Buksh can examine your foot and prescribe the proper treatment if necessary.