Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. She and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
Rocking a pair of sandals isn't out of the question with diabetes, but it does take a bit more forward thinking than the average salon goer.
The truth is, unsterilized instruments and tubs can pass bacterial and fungal infections between clients. What would you do if you saw suspicious practices mid-pedicure? Diabetes Forecast recommends you "get up and leave."
You are at a high risk for foot infections, so you require a little extra TLC. For some, a nick in the skin "can be a life-threatening complication," according to Lee J. Sanders, DPM, chief of podiatry service at VA Medical Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Finding a salon or spa that can fit your needs is a high priority. Check out these tips to stay healthy at the nail salon (before, during, and after).
You'll want to show up with freshly shaved legs—but resist the temptation. Diabetic Living recommends ditching your razor because shaving creates an easy way for fungus and bacteria to enter the skin through small nicks, cuts, or abrasions. It's not uncommon to see serious infections develop such as folliculitis or cellulitis.
2. Keep it clean
Consider bringing your own set of tools from home.
Inquire about the salon's cleaning methods of the tub and tools. The best salons scrub, soak, and heat them in a surgical autoclave.
Ask to have your cuticles pushed back rather than clipped. Live skin around the nail bed is an easy place to get an unnecessary infection.
Have your nails filed, not clipped.
Request no razors be used on your feet.
Request that calluses aren't filed.
Request no lotion between the toes.
3. Know your A1c. It matters.
As your A1c climbs, so does your risk of infection. Think about postponing a salon appointment until your diabetes is well controlled. The smallest abrasion can result in an infectious process that takes on a life of its own. Weighing the risks versus the benefits is always important when living with diabetes.
If it's just nail care you're looking for, perhaps a podiatry appointment is in order. More podiatrists are now offering medical pedicures according to US News. Salons are also happy to forgo the bathing, scrubbing, and trimming to instead simply painting your nails—a much safer and cheaper option. You can even bring your favorite polish from home.
4. Be sure your needs are understood
Choose a salon with people who will understand your needs and be able to accommodate them. If your diabetes has left you with painful or numbing neuropathy, there are a few important points to share with your aesthetician:
If you aren't a good judge of temperature, have them test the water before you put your feet into it. This can help prevent burns from water that's too hot for you.
You may not feel uncomfortable sensations on your feet such as cuts or abrasions from rubbing them too vigorously, so let them know they have to be extra sensitive.
5. What to watch for after
With so much attention on the front end of the pedicure, don't forget what to look for afterward. If you develop a fever, rash, painful open sores, or non-healing or draining wounds, be sure to see your healthcare provider immediately for treatment. It's also always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before you schedule a pedicure.
Do you have any tips to add? Share in the comments below.