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Podiatrists Love Medical Pedicures for Foot Health| Well+Good

Getting a pedicure is a luxurious treat. The experience offers a chance to unwind and relax—usually with the added bonus of a calf massage and a cute color on your toes. Indulgence (and nail art) aside, though, any podiatrist will tell you pedicures are critical for the health of your feet. And for those with ingrowns, corns, nail fungus, or other conditions causing pain, medical pedicures can be more than a luxury—they can be a saving grace.

What is a medical pedicure?

Regular salon pedicures are primarily for relaxation and pampering purposes, whereas medical pedicures focus on treating and maintaining the optimal health of your feet. If you are experiencing foot conditions or medical issues, a medical pedicure can provide specialized care to address your concerns. By seeking out a licensed podiatrist or a nail technician with advanced training working under the supervision of a podiatrist, you can be confident that you’re receiving the proper care and attention your feet deserve.

Because not all pedicurists are professionally trained to treat foot conditions, if you’re dealing with any of the issues mentioned above, it’s crucial to opt for someone with expertise in medical pedicures, so be sure to check your provider’s credentials before booking an appointment. This way, you can enjoy the relaxation of a pedicure while ensuring that your feet receive the necessary care to address any underlying medical issues. According to Dana Stern, MD, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nail health, “Nail technicians should not be cutting into tissue with scalpels or diagnosing infections.” So, do your research and choose wisely.

Medical pedicures are typically waterless, as foot soaking can be a common source of contamination, according to podiatrist Anne Sharkey, DPM. Additionally, all the instruments used in a medical pedicure are medically sterilized to ensure safety and prevent the spread of infection. Polish application may or may not be included, depending on the individual’s specific needs and chosen provider.

These treatments are particularly beneficial for people with diabetes and arthritis, runners, ballet dancers, athletes, and professionals who work on their feet all day, like doctors, nurses, and performers. And, of course, those who wear high heels regularly.

What to know before getting a medical pedicure

If you’re considering a medical pedicure, remember that it’s all about promoting optimal foot health. While you won’t get the same aesthetic experience as a traditional salon pedicure, your feet will look and feel significantly better.

At MediPedi in New York, for instance, you’ll start with an evaluation followed by nail trimming, cleaning, and polishing. The technician may also remove calluses, corns, or ingrown nails and hydrate your feet to prevent cracking. There are also options for a laser treatment to get rid of fungus as well as nail restoration to rehab any nails affected by trauma (which involves using flexible resin to build up any broken or damaged areas).

An hour-long session costs around $200 (and keep in mind that pros recommend getting some type of pedicure, medical or otherwise, every two months). But though it’s expensive, your feet will thank you for it come sandal season.

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