Pedicures, Nail Infections, and Nail Injuries… Oh My!

At Jacksonville Foot and Laser, Dr. Burmeister and his staff routinely deal with nail infections and nail injuries. In many cases, the infection can be due to a visit to a nail salon. What would otherwise be a relaxing treat sometimes becomes a nightmare. You can avoid infections and injuries by becoming pedicure savvy.

When deciding where to get a pedicure, use social media to find customer reviews of nearby salons. Then visit your possible choices in person. Everything about it should be clean and professional. Make sure that the salon has a current license and that each technician has a license from the Board of Cosmetology. While there, observe whether or not the technicians wash their hands before starting a pedicure and whether or not they wear gloves while doing the pedicure.

Ask about the salon’s cleaning regimen. Make sure that the staff uses an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant between clients and after hours according to the product’s directions. Best practices include the use of disposable liners for the foot baths. Don’t forget to ask about the cleaning process for instruments. Reusable items should be sterilized or soaked in a chemical solution between uses. Items that cannot be sterilized or soaked should not be reused.

Once you have selected a spa, follow these tips to ensure that your pedicure will be a safe one.

  • Schedule your pedicure to occur early in the morning.
  • Since microorganisms in foot spas can enter the body through broken skin, do not use a foot spa if there are any open wounds on your feet or legs. These include bug bites, shaving nicks, scratches, scabs, infections, rashes, and open sores. During the 24 hours prior to the pedicure, do not shave your legs, wax your legs, or use hair removal products.
  • If the salon does not use disposable liners in the foot baths, bring your own.
  • Bring your own tools. Disinfect between uses with peroxide or alcohol.
  • Since the cuticles act as the nails’ protective barriers, do not allow them to be cut.
  • Do not allow the technician to use a razor to cut any part of your feet. Pumice stones, exfoliating scrubs, or foot files are much better options for softening and removing calluses and rough spots on the feet.
  • Since round toenails have a greater chance of digging into the skin, resulting in ingrown toenails, always request that the nails be square shaped rather than oval.
  • Have a do-it-yourself spa treatment at home by soaking your feet, scrubbing your feet, and lathering on some moisturizer. Afterward, let the nail professionals apply the polish.

If you are on the trendy side and want to try one of the latest methods for a pedicure, you may be thinking about a fish pedicure or fish spa. Well, think again. The imported fish from Asia that nibble dead skin on the feet have been known to carry bacteria that are potentially dangerous. Because of the risk of infection, such spas or salons have been banned in some states.

Hopefully, your pedicure will be a rejuvenating experience. However, there is the chance of acquiring bacteria, fungi, or viruses that could become infections. They can look like bug bites, eventually worsening and getting bigger. There may be pus and scarring. Fungal infections are indicated by yellowing nails or scaling skin around the foot’s base. Bacterial infections are usually very red, swollen, and oozing. These symptoms are reasons to see Dr. Burmeister.

If you have recently had a spa pedicure and are experiencing symptoms such as those mentioned previously, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff are ready to fully diagnose, treat, and see you on your way to pain-free living. Schedule an appointment by completing an online appointment request at or by calling (904) 765-8889.