Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is too high. It affects about 37 million Americans, including adults and youth. Many of the problems associated with diabetes involve the feet. As such, many wonder if it’s safe for people with diabetes to get a pedicure. And, in today’s post, we’ll answer that question while sharing other important information on diabetic foot care. 

Diabetes and Pedicures: What’s the Concern?

If you’re living with diabetes, you may wonder if it’s safe to get a pedicure. It’s a legitimate question, since this disease can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet, making it harder for you to notice if a pedicure goes wrong. Caused by a condition known as peripheral neuropathy, it means you may or may not feel pain or notice a problem if an injury occurs. In turn, this can delay the detection of any issues and thereby increase your risk of developing complications from your pedicure. 

Several other reasons can also make getting a pedicure with diabetes risky. First, there’s a higher risk of infection because this disease compromises your immune system. If you develop any cuts or wounds during the pedicure process, your risk will increase further. And infections can lead to foot ulcers or, if not treated properly, even amputations, so this is no laughing matter. 

Also, wounds in people with diabetes tend to heal more slowly than in those without this disease. This is due to high blood sugar levels damaging your blood vessels and nerves, limiting the flow of nutrients and oxygen needed for healing. As such, if you get any injuries or cuts during your pedicure, they may take longer to heal and could potentially lead to more serious problems. 

Still, you shouldn’t let that scare you away from pampering yourself. Because, with the right precautions, you can still enjoy a relaxing pedicure without putting your diabetic foot care routine at risk. Here’s how to do it. 

Score a Safer Diabetes Pedicure with This Action Plan A pedicurist treating the cuticle on a foot

To start off with, you’ve got to do your research. Not all salons are created equal. Look for a place that’s clean and has good reviews. Don’t be shy about asking how they sterilized their tools. After all, foot infections can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes, so you need to be sure that they’re taking sanitation seriously. 

Next, communicate with the staff. Let them know that you have diabetes, so that they can be extra careful. If they’re experienced, they’ll know what to do. They should be extra gentle, and avoid cutting or even pushing back your cuticles, since moving the delicate tissue can create entry points for bacteria. But if they’re not confident about delivering safe care? Don’t hesitate to walk away. It may just be safer to try doing your own at home pedicure. 

Diabetes Pedicure: Is At-Home Pampering the Safer Option?

At home, you have more control over cleanliness, and you can easily ensure that instruments are sterilized. But, if you prefer to visit a salon, make sure they follow strict sterilization procedures, and that they sterilize tools after every use. Don’t hesitate to bring your own tools, so you know that they’re only being used for you. 
You should also ensure that the foot baths are sterilized after each use. They should be lined with plastic. And that plastic lining should be thrown away after every use. 
At home, make sure to sterilize tools with a disinfectant. And only buy tools that are of good enough quality to withstand disinfection. During the pedicure itself, be cautious about cuticle removal. Aggressive cuticle trimming can lead to nicks, cuts and infection. Instead, opt for a gentle pushing back of the cuticle, since it functions as a barrier to prevent infection from occurring. 

Any exfoliation should be done gently to avoid damaging the skin. Remember, you’re aiming to remove dead skin cells—not to damage the healthy ones! Harsh scrubs and tools can create tiny abrasions that can, again, pose a risk for infection.  

After a Diabetes Pedicure: Ensuring Your Ongoing Safety

If you do find the right salon to give you some pampering, don’t let your guard down once the pedicure is complete. After a pedicure, check your feet for any unnoticed injuries, irritation or infection immediately. Be sure to monitor your feet for any sign of infection such as redness, swelling or pain. Also be on the lookout for signs of an ingrown nail. Then, if you do notice signs of trouble, call our Houston podiatry practice right away. Tell us that you’re a diabetic with a possible foot infection and we’ll get you in immediately. 

Now that you understand the risks involved, it’s easy to see why diabetics need to be cautious when getting a pedicure. But you don’t have to rule this pampering procedure out entirely. Consulting with our podiatrist in Houston before going to the salon can help you make an informed decision about whether or not it’s safe to proceed. It’s clear that you can safely get a pedicure, even if you have diabetes. But you have to take the proper precautions, and do your research if you plan to be cared for at a salon. And, if you’ve already had a diabetes pedicure and are concerned about potential complications, call the office at 713-785-7881 or click here for an immediate appointment. We’ll check out your feet right away and make sure that a day of pampering your feet doesn’t lead to long-term complications.