Why Podiatrists worry about your nail salon addiction and what you can do about it!

Nail salons are thought of as places to sit back, relax, and have some pampering “me” time, and I get it! As a busy working mum, I dream of a little bit of quiet time just for me every once and a while! But, as a Podiatrist, I also worry about what may happen to my toes and feet when I am at the nail salon.

You’ve all seen the scary reports in the media – that nail salons can give you nasty infections that can take a long time to clear up. This is not false – we see it all too often at Foot Right Podiatry - people who have gone to the salon for a routine pedicure and are left with a nasty fungal nail, or even an ingrown nail or other infections after the treatment.

Now, I am not saying that every nail salon is going to do this to you – and you may have been for many pedicures in your life and never had a problem, but the risk is there. Let me tell you why:

1.     Nail Salons are not regulated as highly as Podiatrists, so their hygiene standards lead to greater risk of contamination. This means that anything that touches you, may still have contaminants from another person on it. For a recent ABC news report on this, please follow this link

2.     Pedicurists are not trained in treating your particular nail or skin problem. Their job is to make your feet “pretty” – meaning that they will cut your nails in a fashionable way which may or may not suitable to your particular nail shape – hence increasing the risk of nail infection.

3.     Foot spa jets can harbour bacteria and fungus and are very hard to clean. Have you seen a nail salon on a Saturday morning? It’s mayhem! The question is, have the employees had time to clean and sterilise this equipment between customers? This is just something for you to think about!


So, are you saying I need to quit the nail bar?

No, not necessarily. I understand there is a place for nail bars, and who am I to stand between you and your pamper time! Armed with some information, you should be able to still go to a nail bar and keep your beautiful healthy nails as well.


Top Tips to Avoid Infections at the Nail Bar

  1. Don’t expect your Pedicurist to be able to do the job of a Podiatrist – they are not trained in treating problem feet! They can only make your feet pretty. If you do have a problem on your skin or nails, the best they can do is patch it up and make it appear better for a short period of time.
  2. Never allow the Pedicurist to use sharp implements on your skin or nails – this poses the risk of piercing the skin which can lead to infection – bacterial or fungal. Also avoid having your cuticles cut – I know people love the look of a very clear nail – but cuticles are there for a reason! Having them cut away exposes your nail plate (where your nail grows from) to infection.
  3. Watch that foot spa! Does it look clean? Has someone else just had their feet in it? Avoid this at all costs! The best nail spa will be one that uses a disposal plastic protector between the basin and your feet – if there is not one, think wisely!
  4. Ask questions! Do you sterilise your instruments to Australian Standards? Can you show me your sterilisation area? How do you clean your foot spa? Do you reuse your instruments? Are the towels cleaned after each and every customer?
  5. If you are a fully-fledged nail bar addict the best thing you can do is purchase your own pedicure set and take it with you every time, then at least you know that you won’t be picking up someone else’s problem.

How can Podiatrists help you?

While most Podiatrists do not offer a traditional Pedicure which includes nail polish, we do routinely treat skin and nails with our Medical Pedicures. Personally, I think your feet look so good at the end of our treatments that you don’t even need nail polish (but maybe that’s just me!)

If you are concerned about a nail after a treatment at the Pedicurist, please come and see us. If caught quickly, most problems are much easier to treat.