Medical pedicure

Summer Pampering: Skip the Salon for a Medical Pedicure

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.

Comments

  1. This was helpful. I do not want to go to a nail place, as my toenails are embarrassing, so will be looking for a podiatrist soon to take care of my feet. The lymphedema, has affected my toes and nails so will need to have them taken care of soon.

  2. I am very appreciative of this detailed information. Very helpful. Details I had never been told before. Educational.

  3. How do you find a place that does a medical pedicure?
    Is it only at a podiatrist? Is it covered by insurance?
    Thank you for any help.

    1. I would imagine that starting by asking your podiatrist about this is a good place to begin. They may have the best contacts.

  4. very interesting BUT in mid-Michigan I cannot find anyone who does this.

  5. I hadn’t thought about the water enabling cross contamination, and needing a dry pedicure. I just left my podiatrists office and he was very gentle about reminding me that I am at higher risk. I had a pedicure last week for my grandsons wedding. Now I know not to do that again.

    1. I’m so happy I came across this information today, as my feet have been needing some attention lately…I would be too embarrassed to go to a salon, with the swelling in my legs, and the condition of my skin. I’m going to look on the internet and see if I can find someone in my area, and if it’s covered by insurance. Thank you !

  6. Thank you, I had no idea of the seriousness of Lymphedema in my arms. And although I try to keep the fluid moving I ended up getting cellulitis after an airplane visit to see family upon my return. When I stopped using my garments as often as I should.

    1. In ten years I have had cellulitis 5 times. On was from a mosquito bite, several from the tinest little cuts or nicks. Two of these times I was in the hospital for 4-5 days! Evidently the bacteria they finally isolated was one of the antibiotic resistant bacteria. They gave me IV antibiotics (2 different ones) around the clock for 4 days, then outpatient infusions once a day for another 10 days. So BE CAREFUL folks. If your arm or leg feels hot, swollen or red – go straight to the emergency room! You can get very sick, very fast!

      1. thanks for sharing your story, helpful advice
        sorry you’ve had such a hard time

  7. Thank you. This was a very informative article. I go to a Podiatrist regularly. My next visit is coming up soon. I plan to ask him about a medical manicure. If he doesn’t do it perhaps he can recommend someone who is qualified.

  8. For those looking for care, there are often nurses having “nail” days when they do those with diabetes, since diabetics have much of the same issues as with LE do–the need for keeping dry, no cross contamination, etc.. My clinic has such a schedule. I will be visiting this nail day for the first time in a couple weeks.

  9. I recently found a medical pedicurist about an hour’s drive from me but it is definitely worth the time and the money is well spent. I found them by simply googling medical pedicures and they popped up. I just had my second visit. They’re wonderful and there’s no embarrassment involved. You’re treated like a patient and not just another person who wants their toenails painted! If anyone is in the Atlanta Georgia area the people I see are at NuFeet MediPedi in Smyrna.

  10. Good advice.
    Another good way to care for your feet if you have toenails that are thickening is to rub on a good coating of Vic’s Vaporub & cover with a sock at bedtime. I did this nightly for about 6 months until new, nice pink toenails grew in. Now I maintain with once or twice a week. This will also make it easy to trim your nails. You will love the way your feet look and feel. Generic Vics works well too.

  11. Thanks you very much for the information! I have lymphedema on my right arm which the surgeon who did my mastectomy never told me to be careful with my arm…
    I just had my first pedicure in a salon, never again!

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