Many patients often ask the question of “eww why would you ever want to spend all day looking at feet?! It is important to remember that feet are just another part of the body, which unfortunately are often neglected by many due to their dislike and disgust.
In a recent article from The New York Times, the author addresses the issue of why feet are ignored and are often referred as disgusting by many people. According to the article, the Kelton Research Group of the American Podiatric Medical Association did a study asking 500 women how they felt about their feet, 50% of these women related to being embarrassed on an almost regular basis. Another piece of evidence supporting the dislike of feet is a Facebook group called “I Hate Feet,” this Facebook group currently has 1,800 supporters; there are various other similar Facebook groups, but this group has the most supporters. In addition, spas and pedicurists often report that many of their clients are embarrassed or ashamed of their feet most likely due to their corns, calluses, cracked heels, thickened toenails, toe deformities, and too large of feet. Due to these problems, the client will usually make some sort of comment or apology about their feet.
Pedicures are another issue of their own. Many people do not take the time to keep their feet healthy, which would keep the foot looking more “acceptable.” Ways to care for the feet daily include: moisturizing, wearing comfortable shoe gear, thoroughly washing the feet during bathing, and keeping the toenails short and clean. But wait! A visit to the pedicurist or spa should take care of the toenails at least. However, it is just the opposite in many cases. While pedicurists make the toenails look pretty, it is in actuality doing more damage than good and also risking the health of the feet. In 2007 alone, 6.16 billion dollars were spent on nail care. For those of you that do not know the steps of a pedicure, the first step is bathing your feet in a small pool of warm water, this very well could cause the feet to contract a fungal, bacterial, or viral infection from a previous client who also soaked their feet in the same ceramic tub; the ceramic tub may not be properly cleaned in between uses. Lack of properly sterilizing instruments by autoclaving after each use, as well as using the same toenail polish on other clients are also common contributors to infections. This is a common issue and the statistics prove it; one salon reported that 1 in 100 of their customers reported that their feet had an infection shortly after their visit. If you are still insistent on getting your toenails painted despite the risk of infections, providing your own pedicure instruments, for the pedicurist to use, as well as, your own nail polish, can diminish the risks. Also, check to make sure the salon is following the required standards of sanitary practice.
There is also a new type of pedicure that is referred to as a fish pedicure that is bringing a lot of attention and controversy. A fish pedicure is done by using the fish called, “reddish log suckers” in the foot bath before the pedicure to eat off all the dead skin. The same fish is used on multiple clients leading to an increased risk of infection. Not only does using the fish on the same clients spread infection, but the fish are also using the foot bath as their restroom, which you are soaking your feet in. This type of pedicure carries such a high risk that it is banned in 14 states.
Pedicures also bring attention to the toes, so if you are embarrassed about your feet this may also be another reason to think twice about getting a pedicure.