How to Prevent Getting a Toenail Infection at the Nail Salon
With sandal season approaching, you might be thinking it’s time for a pedicure. Pedicures are relaxing, therapeutic cosmetic treatments that make your feet and toes look their best. Most pedicures include a foot soaking, scrubbing, nail clipping, massage, and nail polish.
Pedicures are relaxing, and they can make you feel good, but did you know that they can put you at risk for a toenail infection, or worse? The skin on your feet can easily be cut, increasing your risk for infection. An unsanitary nail salon can expose you to bacteria and fungus that can be hard to get rid of.
Luckily, these tips can help you can make an informed decision when you choose a nail salon for your next pedicure. Jeffery LaMour, DPM and our team regularly treat toenail fungus and other infections to help patients have healthy feet. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you stay safe during a pedicure.
Make sure the salon is sanitary
Nail salon technicians use a variety of tools on every guest in the salon. Nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, and more should be sterilized after every use, but up to 75% of salons in the United States don’t follow state protocol for disinfecting tools. The salon should use a medical-grade sanitizing machine called an autoclave to sterilize tools. Consider bringing your own tools, including a nail file, clippers, and polish, if you’re worried about the sanitary conditions of your favorite salon.
A warm foot bath can feel great on tired feet, but the bath can transfer fungus like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus if it isn’t properly cleaned. Nail technicians should disinfect foot baths between each use. If the bath isn’t sanitized properly, you might be at risk for getting a nail fungus. Consider finding a nail salon that uses plastic liners in foot baths to avoid infection.
Watch out for cuts on your feet
It’s possible that you can suffer a small cut or injury during the process of your pedicure. Nail technicians often cut cuticles with small scissors instead of pushing them back. Cutting cuticles can expose your nail bed and increase your risk of toenail infection. If your cuticles bleed or you’ve been injured, it’s a good idea to stop the pedicure.
Some nail technicians cut or shave off corns and calluses. Just like cutting your cuticles, removing corns and calluses in this way creates a wound in your skin. Bacteria can enter through the cut, and you may develop an infection as a result. Instead of cutting or shaving, ask your nail technician to use a pumice stone to work down these areas of dead skin.
Don’t get a pedicure if you have an injury or infection
If you have a known injury or infection, your immune system might already be weakened. A cut on your foot increases your risk of contracting an infection, and you could spread the infection if the salon doesn’t properly clean their instruments.
If you have diabetes, your feet are especially prone to injury. Most people with diabetes should avoid traditional nail salons to keep their feet healthy and injury free.
To fully enjoy your pedicure, make sure your feet are injury- and fungus-free before you go. Ensure the salon follows state regulations when it comes to sanitizing all the tools they use to perform pedicures.
And be sure to go to a licensed salon — one that has been evaluated by the state health department. The salon should display their license, and your nail technician should have a certificate from the board of cosmetology. At a clean salon, your chances of having a beautiful pedicure and healthy feet is much higher.
If you think you might have a toenail infection or other foot condition, we can help you heal. Call one of our offices in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas, or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment with Dr. LaMour today.