Summer Pampering: Skip the Salon for a Medical Pedicure
Everyone likes a little pampering once in a while. Call it self care, a “decompression day,” or simply some “me time”. Whatever you call it, we all enjoy a little special attention occasionally. This summer many women—and more than a few men—will trot their toes into a salon for a pedicure. For some, though, a medical pedicure may be a better pampering option this summer.
For those who don’t know, a pedicure typically involves some gentle foot soaking followed by toenail trimming, buffing, a little foot massage, and/or polishing. Some exotic European-style salons even offer foot baths brimming with tiny fish that gently gnaw away at your unsightly dead skin, leaving healthy skin intact. Who knew your unwanted skin could serve as a tasty fish snack?
There are a few tips, however, that lymphedema patients should keep in mind before their next spa day.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Unfortunately, people with lymphedema must take special precautions when it comes to caring for their hands and feet. Circulation is typically compromised in affected areas, making it especially important to guard against any potential infections. Cuts, scrapes or other forms of broken skin may be no big deal for some people, but they are serious concerns for people with lymphedema. Skin in affected areas suffers from less than ideal drainage and blood circulation and thus is more susceptible to infections from bacteria and fungi. A skin infection called cellulitis, characterized by red, swollen, warm or tender skin is an ever-present concern among lymphedema patients.
Lymphedema patients certainly deserve to benefit from a mani/pedi occasionally, but they must take special precautions. That’s why it may be preferable to seek a medical pedicure, rather than heading out to the local strip-mall salon. A medical pedicure is performed by a trained podiatrist or chiropodist. Their approach is non-invasive, dry, and guaranteed to involve sterile instruments that pose no risk of infection or disease transmission.
Go the Professional Route
Medical pedicure professionals are also qualified to tend to any additional problems they may encounter. Some of those issues could include fungal infections, calluses, or ingrown nails. Lymphedema patients will benefit more by choosing a medically qualified and trained care provider.
One notable difference between these approaches to foot care involves the use of water. Technicians in salons invariably use it. Medical pedicure providers do not. That’s because water increases the risk of infection and cross contamination. Medical pedicure providers also have techniques and instruments that are simply not available at standard salons.
People with upper or lower arm lymphedema may similarly benefit from a medical manicure, rather than risking infection at a common nail salon. If you want to have nail polish applied after your manicure, be sure to bring your own, though. Medical manicurists do not stock nail polish for the same reason they use sterile, disposable instruments: to better protect you from potential infection due to cross-contamination.
Maintain Regular Skincare
Pampering your skin should not be a special spa day treat. It is important to maintain a regular skincare routine to help manage and prevent the spread of lymphedema. Be sure to take special care in preventing cuts, scrapes, or other skin punctures to prevent infection. Additionally, the use of specialized body lotions and body washes can help stem issues that can lead to potentially harmful dry, cracking skin. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about caring for your skin with lymphedema.