Can diabetics get pedicures?

minute read
A diabetic woman getting a pedicure.
Photo credit - Cottonbro Studio.

Living with diabetes comes with its own set of challenges. And one thing that requires special attention is foot care. This is because your feet are particularly vulnerable to diabetes-related issues, and high blood glucose levels can damage nerves and reduce blood circulation. So, considering the importance of good diabetes foot care, can diabetics get pedicures?

Let’s explore pedicures for diabetics, identify the precautions you should consider, the risks involved, and the best practices to follow, so you can get a safe, relaxing pedicure that keeps your feet healthy.

Here’s everything you’ll need to know:

  • The importance of foot care for diabetics
  • Can diabetics get pedicures?
  • Safe foot care practices for diabetics

The importance of foot care for diabetics

How does diabetes impact your feet?

To understand the impact diabetes can have on your feet, it’s important to first have a basic understanding of the disease itself.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body regulates blood sugar or glucose. If your body can’t effectively regulate blood sugar, your blood glucose level can become too high.

This can lead to 2 primary problems for your feet:

  1. Diabetic neuropathy – High blood sugar levels over time can cause nerve damage, particularly in the feet. This is a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. If you have diabetic neuropathy, you may lose sensation in the affected area, making it difficult to detect injuries or damage. You may not feel pain, heat or cold as intensely as before. And you may not notice injuries, blisters or ulcers on your feet, which can progress into more severe complications if left untreated.
  2. Poor circulation – Diabetes can also affect blood circulation, with the extremities (feet and hands) having reduced blood flow. This condition is called peripheral arterial disease. Poor blood circulation impacts healing. It can make cuts and injuries slower to heal and more likely to get infected, and at greater risk of further complications. Poor circulation can also cause cramping, pain and muscle weakness in the feet.

Because of the possible impact diabetes has on foot health, it’s critical diabetics take proactive steps to care for their feet. You should check your feet regularly for injury, keep your blood glucose level within the target range as much as possible, and adopt appropriate foot care practices. This will minimise the risk of experiencing diabetes-related foot problems.

Possible foot complications for diabetics

While diabetic neuropathy and poor circulation present the initial threat to your feet, the greater risk comes from leaving them untreated letting the condition progress.

Here are some of the foot-related complications diabetics may have to deal with:

  • Diabetic neuropathy and foot ulcers – Nerve damage in the feet can lead to foot ulcers. Ulcers are open sores that can become infected if not properly treated. Because diabetic neuropathy causes loss of sensation, it can be challenging to detect ulcers. To counter this it’s important to check your feet regularly and take as many preventative measures as you can.
  • Charcot foot – Charcot arthropathy, also known as Charcot foot, is a serious complication of peripheral neuropathy. It affects the bones in the foot, which can weaken or break. As loss of sensation is also a symptom of diabetic neuropathy, a diabetic may not notice the damage and continue to walk on it unaware. This can worsen the damage, leading to deformity, foot sores and infection.
  • Peripheral arterial disease and infection – Poor blood flow can cause wounds to heal more slowly and be at greater risk of infection. In severe cases, it can even lead to tissue death (gangrene). At this point, the affected tissue will need to be removed, which may require the foot to be amputated.

By understanding the possible foot-related complications of diabetes, you’ll appreciate the importance of proactive foot care. And by maintaining good foot hygiene and practising preventative foot care, you can significantly reduce the risk of these complications.

Can diabetics get pedicures?

So, as a diabetic, is it safe to indulge in a relaxing pedicure?

The good news is, while you need to take some precautions, with the proper care and awareness diabetics can get pedicures safely and enjoyably.

Let’s explore the risks and recommended precautions involved:

Precautions to consider before getting a pedicure

  • Consult with your doctor – Before booking your pedicure, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor. They understand your body, diabetes management needs, and foot health and can provide personalised advice. This will help you determine if a pedicure is right for you and what you may need to look out for.
  • Choose a reputable and diabetes-friendly salon – To care for your needs, you’ll want to choose a salon with highly trained professionals who understand and are familiar with the unique foot care requirements of diabetics. Don’t hesitate to ask about their experience serving diabetic clients and their sterilisation practices.
  • Pick a salon that follows proper hygiene and sterilisation protocols – To reduce the risk of injury or infection, you should find a salon that prioritises hygiene and sterilisation. They should use clean, sanitised tools for each client, dispose of disposable tools properly, and maintain a clean environment. This will keep your pedicure safe and hygienic.

Possible risks during a pedicure and how to avoid them

  • Nail trimming – To avoid injury as a diabetic, you should be cautious with nail trimming during a pedicure. It’s a good idea to ask your nail technician to trim your nails straight across, avoid sharp corners, and not cut too close to the skin. This will reduce your risk of accidental cuts or ingrown toenails.
  • Excessive foot soaking – If you soak your feet long, it can make your skin too soft. This can make it easier to injure your feet and pick up infections. To avoid this, you should limit the soaking time. You should also avoid hot water, as it can reduce blood circulation. Tell your technician about your diabetes, and they can adjust your soaking time and water temperature accordingly.
  • Heat treatments – Just as with hot water, you should also be careful with heat treatments like hot towels or paraffin wax drips. While these can feel relaxing, they may also worsen poor blood circulation. Talk to salon staff about your diabetes and they can modify or avoid heat treatments to help avoid this problem.
  • Sharp instruments – It’s possible that sharp instruments, like cuticle trimmers or callus removers, can break your skin and cause injury. It’s important to talk to your technician about your diabetes and ask that they be careful, and handle your feet gently. This will hopefully help you avoid any accidental cuts or scrapes.
  • Massage and pressure points – Massages can be relaxing, enjoyable and improve circulation. However, you must tell your technician about any areas that are sensitive or uncomfortable. And you should avoid excess pressure in any areas where you have reduced sensation. This will help you avoid accidental injury, which you may not otherwise be able to detect.

By being aware of these risks, taking precautions, and communicating your needs to salon staff, you can reduce the risk of getting a pedicure as a diabetic.

Safe foot care practices for diabetics

A pedicure is a great way to give your feet some love and care. However, as a diabetic, foot care goes far beyond the occasional pedicure. To keep your feet in top health you need to practise regular self-care and preventative measures.

Let’s look into safe footcare steps you can include in your daily routine:

Self-care tips for diabetic foot health

  • Daily foot inspections – Every day, take a few minutes to examine your feet for any changes. Look for cuts, blisters, redness or swelling. If it’s hard for you to see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone in your family for assistance. As soon as you spot an issue, take immediate steps to address it.
  • Keep your feet clean and moisturised – Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap (remember, don’t soak them for long periods as this can make the skin too soft). After drying your feet thoroughly, apply moisturiser. This will keep your skin hydrated and avoid cracking. Don’t apply moisturiser between your toes though, as this can lead to excess moisture buildup.
  • Trim your nails regularly and carefully – To keep your toes healthy, trim your nails regularly. When you cut your toenails, trim them straight across following the natural curve of your toe. Don’t cut them too short or round the corners, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Wear diabetic-friendly footwear – Whenever you can, wear shoes that provide proper support, have good space for your toes, and allow your feet to breathe. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or have high heels. And when putting on your shoes, check there’s nothing inside them. This will help prevent injuries.

When you should seek professional help

As well as knowing the risks to look out for and the precautions to take, to maintain good foot health you also need to know when to get professional help.

Here’s when you should seek professional help for diabetes-related foot problems:

  • At the first sign of complications – It’s important to check your feet regularly and talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of complications. This is because loss of sensation (and failing to notice injuries and quickly address them), can make complications worse. Look out for persistent sores, wounds that won’t heal, increased pain, swelling, and signs of infection. The earlier you spot these, the greater your chance of avoiding further complications.
  • At least once a year – As well as actively looking out for and reacting to foot complications, you should also schedule regular foot examinations with your doctor or podiatrist. They can assess your foot health, provide personalised advice, and help you detect any possible issues before they get worse.

By including these self-care tips in your daily life and seeking advice from your doctor when you need it, you can effectively manage your foot health and reduce the risk of complications from diabetes.

Conclusion: Diabetic foot care – It can be safe to get pedicures, but good foot care doesn’t stop there

As a diabetic, you have to take good care of your feet. By doing this, you reduce your risk of possible complications. And while diabetics can get pedicures, you need to approach them carefully and take specific precautions.

Remember to consult with your doctor before you book a pedicure, and choose a reputable salon that has experience with diabetics and prioritises hygiene and sterilisation.

And make sure to practise daily self-care for your feet as well. Inspect your feet regularly, keep them clean, cut your nails safely, and wear appropriate footwear. You should also have regular check-ups with your doctor or podiatrist and reach out to them at the first sign of complications.

When you prioritise your foot health, adopt preventative measures, and proactively seek guidance from your doctor, you can reduce your risk of diabetes-related foot complications. By following these simple steps and being proactive in your foot care, you can enjoy the benefits of pampering your feet with a relaxing pedicure while staying healthy and happy.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about your medical condition you should always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare provider.

Looking for more articles like this?

Want to keep up with the latest news, stories and recipes?

Sign up and get the latest updates straight to your inbox.
Thanks for signing up with us! We look forward to having you in our community!
Oops! Something went wrong, have you filled in all your details correctly?