Flip Flops, Pedicures and Infection

pedicure infectionHere in Florida, flip flops are year round footwear. Even in the “winter” when temps are cooler, people still wear flip flops with their sweaters. But I never got into the flip flop thing much. For starters, I don’t like how my feet look with them on. I also am a fast walker and I’d rather have sneakers on for errands. Honestly, I prefer closed shoes, period.

This year though, I decided to start getting more frequent pedicures. On a monthly basis. For once I was semi-comfortable with how my feet looked in flip flops and at yoga class. It was easier to just let someone else do it once a month. That settled that, I thought to myself. I’m just going to plan on doing this from now now on.

Until last Thursday night when I woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing toe. I turned on the light and the entire toe was bright red. Thinking it was an ingrown toenail, I trimmed the top though it didn’t seem to be too long. I took a high powered ibuprofen, put some lavender oil on it and went back to bed. The next day I soaked it a few times. The pain and redness seemed to be going away and I thought it was taken care of. And then I noticed pus pooling up under the nail and under the skin. I did some Internet research and discovered a condition called paronychia. I did some more research and found an alarming article about the health risks involved in getting pedicures. I go to a seemingly nice place. I thought it was clean.

But I didn’t know about not letting them turn on the bubbles in the foot baths and never thought about asking whether the tools they were using were sterilized between each client. And I didn’t know that it was best to keep my set of non-metal tools. The conditions were pretty ripe for bacterial infection.

As I left for my appointment at the podiatrist, the infection was obviously growing worse and oozing. The doctor confirmed it was more than likely from the pedicures I had been getting and in addition, I had some white stuff on my nails that was fungus. Also from pedicures. He numbed my big toe and had to remove about 1/4 of the nail from top to bottom to properly drain it. I’m now on antibiotics and have to keep it wrapped up which will be a lot of fun at the beach.

There will be no more pedicures for me for a long time because it will take months for my nail to grow back. In the future, I will be careful to do my research about where I go. Just because a salon looks nice doesn’t mean they are following best practices. 



  1. I have had 1 pedicure in my life and the same thing happened to me, NEVER AGAIN. Hope you feel better soon.


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