5 Ways Pedicure Can Cause Toe Infections

pedicure causing toe infection

Although you may think you’re properly pampering yourself, an improperly sterilized and cleaned nail salon can actually cause you more harm than good on your day off. There are many ways pedicure can cause toe infections. If the tools used to do pedicures aren’t sterilized as they should be, this can lead to skin and nail infections, which can occur not only right after the pedicure (simplifying the search of what the culprit was), but it can also show up even months after your spa day.

To help you avoid infections as much as possible—ones like:

  • Bacterial infections: When your toenail or the area surrounding it is discolored in a red tint, heated or swollen, you might have to implement antibiotics in your daily routine and possibly go to a doctor so they can check out if an incision or drainage is needed.
  • Fungal infections: If your toenail is discolored yellow or is looking like it is going to fall off—even beginning to lift off, this can mean nail fungus. Unfortunately, a fungal infection can be dormant for months following the pedicure, which makes pinpointing its origin difficult. This type of infection can be cured through oral or topical treatments.
  • Viral infectionsIf you notice plantar warts forming—which is one of the most common infections—then this can be cured through topical treatment, as well. Look out for darker spots or calluses showing up (even months after) after a pedicure.

Word of caution: after reading this next portion of our article, your view on nail salons may forever be changed. However, most salons are diligently careful about their sterilization and cleaning practices where it shouldn’t be too much to worry about.

If you are cautious before you head into your next appointment, do a little background snooping to see the credentials and reviews of the place you’re heading to. Your newest pampering salon could very much be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

Here are a few ways that a pedicure could really put a damper on your day:

  1. The foot baths: Although they normally sterilize these baths right in front of you, before and after each client, bacteria can still hide (and breed) in the pipes. To best avoid this type of bacteria, go for the salon that has invested in the “pipeless” foot baths.

Since most of these bacteria will find their home in the pipes, turning on the bubbles or jets can activate those pipes. Instead of enjoying a personalized hot tub for your feet, you’ll instead be handing out invitations to a whirlpool party especially set for the fungus and bacteria.

Just through the whirlpool foot baths, fungal and viral infections like athlete’s foot and warts can happen. Especially if you have any open cuts—which will be discussed in the next point, you are making yourself more susceptible to infections.

  1. Go hairy, leave happy. You might be a bit hesitant about going to a nail salon hairy or spiky. However, letting yourself go a little bit (at least two days) before you go in for a pedicure can actually save you from contracting an infection.

Especially if you shave, some cuts or nicks—even the smallest of micro-tears, which can be invisible to you—or you might be equally as aware to wounds. If you don’t shave prior to your pedicure as a pedicure can cause toe infections, you’re taking the extra precaution to avoid infection in a possible opening in your feet, ankles or legs.

  1. The tools can also cause infection—if not properly sterilized. There are certain tools that can be re-used if properly sterilized and certain tools that really should be used once—and only once—then trashed.

Those reusable tools should be at the very least soaking in a liquid disinfectant—something like Barbicide, which kills off microbial life that tends to cause infection.

You may also notice another effective sanitization tool like autoclaves. If you see a UV light sanitizing station, you might want to head to another salon—this method isn’t that effective in getting rid of bacteria. When talking about the tools that really shouldn’t be used again, nail files, foot pumices, and most non-metal tools shouldn’t be re-used.

  1. Drying your feet properly. If your feet aren’t properly dried—especially in the space between your toes, this can lead to fungi hanging around. If the person doing your pedicure doesn’t properly dry your feet, go back and do it on your own—that small moment of being picky can save you a disaster of getting rid of an infection.
  1. Considered illegal in some states, callous shavers should also be avoided. Especially if you’re on your feet all day, you might have built up some major callouses. However, if your local salon reaches for one during a pedicure you might want to speak up—although it still might be legal in your state for them to use it, you have the right (and should) say no.

Since you’re going to be shaving off your callouses, it’s very possible that it might cut into your skin—even if it is on a minor, microscopic level. However, those small cuts or nicks can open up a teeny tiny window for the entire population of germs to come through and make a party in your body.

 A few other tips to note:

If you do already have ingrown toenails (or are more prone to getting them because of a sport or your shoes), you should try your best to avoid pedicures entirely as a pedicure can cause toe infections. Go in to see your podiatrist about properly caring for them.

If there is a special during the week or during a holiday which makes the place as crowded as ever, this probably means that the turnover rate is quick, leaving you with less-than-thorough sanitization. If you’re free, try and avoid these busy days—like the weekends or afternoons and aim for a weekday morning if you can.

We hope that these tips can help keep your soul happy and your feet healthy.