Here 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.