If you have diabetes, you’ve probably been told more than once that taking good care of your feet is of critical importance. What you might not know is that getting a pedicure at a nail spa—surely the very definition of pampering your feet, especially if you go to a nice one, right?—may be putting you at risk of the very complications you’re trying to avoid. Here’s what you need to know to understand the potential dangers.
Diabetes comes with complications that can result in serious foot problems. The first is neuropathy, or diabetic nerve damage that can cause either pain or lack of sensation. When diabetics can’t feel their feet, they’re more likely to overlook a minor injury such as a blister or a small scrape until it has become infected.
Another complication is skin changes. This is another effect of nerve damage, as your body loses the ability to control the oil and moisture in your feet. The result can be skin so dry that it peels and cracks, leaving your feet vulnerable to infection.
Diabetes also impedes circulation by narrowing and hardening the arteries of the foot and leg. The lack of blood flow makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infection and heal wounds that would ordinarily be quite easy to recover from.
The combination of these factors means that ordinary foot care, like how you trim your nails or apply lotion, needs to be carefully rethought so as not to damage your feet. This is why a nail spa may not be the best place for care.
A well-trained nail technician can certainly help ordinary patrons avoid things like ingrown toenails, which pose a particular danger to diabetic patients. However, correct nail trimming technique is just one thing that you have to consider as part of the pedicure process.
First, you need to look at the cleanliness of the nail spa and their processes for cleaning tools and foot baths. Ideally, metal tools should be cleaned and sterilized in an autoclave between patrons, and items such as emery boards should not be reused on multiple people. Footbaths should be cleaned with a hospital-grade disinfectant after each use, but be aware that the pipes that carry water into the bowl can also harbor bacteria.
Even if the nail salon is scrupulously clean, certain parts of a regular pedicure simply aren’t advisable for those with diabetes. Long soaks in hot water can negatively affect your skin, making it even drier than before. Cuticles should never be cut, and heels and calluses should not be filed. Any of these activities are especially dangerous for those with neuropathy because injuries caused by too-hot water or overzealous trimming and filing could create easily infected wounds you wouldn’t feel at the time. Even improper lotion application can be a problem, as extra moisture between your toes can lead to skin breakdown and infection.
Rather than telling your nail technician that you have diabetes and hoping they have the expertise to adapt regular pedicure techniques appropriately, it’s much better to come to Dr. Kelly for the foot care you need.
At Las Vegas Footcare, you can get TLC for diabetic feet with the expert level of medical knowledge you need. Preventative foot care is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid complications from diabetes and to preserve your quality of life. When you set up a regular schedule of periodic checkups with Dr. Kelly, potential problems can be easily caught before they become difficult to treat—and you’ll know exactly where to turn if troubling symptoms crop up between appointments. To find out more about how Las Vegas Footcare can provide top-level diabetic foot care or to schedule an appointment, call 702-605-6220 or fill out our online contact form today.