Washington, Jun 15: It might make your feet look attractive, but a pedicure can actually do more harm than good, suggests an expert. According to Tracey Vlahovic, D.P.M., associate professor of podiatric medicine and orthopedics at Temple University's School of Podiatric Medicine said that women often believe that since pedicure salons use sterile instruments, so it's fine to use theirs.
However, the Vlahovic said that these instruments could spread germs that can cause nail fungus and bacterial infections. "Unfortunately, this is not the case with all nail salons. As a result, the instruments can spread germs that can cause nail fungus and bacterial infections," said Vlahovic. She suggests that it's best to invest in your own nail files, clippers and cuticle sticks, still if you choose to use shop instruments, make sure they are sterilized after each use.
It is often believed that flats, flip-flops, or walking barefoot are perfectly fine for your feet, but Vlahovic contradicts the belief.
"This is a common misconception, because we always hear about the problems with high heels. But these three present their own types of problems," she said.
Flip-flops do not provide any support and can lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, or even ankle sprains and tendonitis. Flats may look comfortable but can be painful to your feet by causing severe heel pain and blisters, crowding toes and worsening conditions such as hammertoes and bunions.
Moreover, walking barefoot can lead to foot problems such as cuts, abrasions, bruises and a puncture wound from a foreign object, and make you vulnerable to skin issues or nail injuries.
You can wear flip-flops or flats, but only for a few hours at a time, and if you still plan to wear them longer, Vlahovic recommends stretching the Achilles tendon afterward.
At-home scrubs and soaks for corns are not as safe and effective as believed to be, as it would just exfoliate, not 'remove' corns, a small buildup of skin with a hard core due rubs against the shoe. It is advised to wear shoes with a wider toe box.
You don't need to put sunscreen on your feet. "Skin cancer on the legs and feet actually has a high mortality rate due to people forgetting to do skin checks on that area. It's often caught too late," said Vlahovic.
"The legs and feet are not immune to the sun's effects, and women have an even greater chance of developing skin cancer than men, because they often have more of their leg exposed," she added.
Soaking your feet in the motorized tub at a nail salon can also be harmful for your feet. Often the antiseptic that is put in the water between clients doesn't catch all the germs. Bacteria and fungus can get caught in the filter of the motorized tub and still cause a problem.
It would be safer to ask the technician if they have a clean bowl or basin to use instead, with individual liners for even greater protection.
Vlahovic also debunks the myth that antibiotics can make ingrown toenails go away. Your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic for your ingrown toenail, but it's actually to clear up a resulting infection. The cause of the problem, the nail, is still there.
Conditions such as athlete's foot and warts are highly contagious, and easily spread in environments such as locker rooms or showers. The infections can be picked up through small breaks in the skin of the bottom of the foot. It is advised to keep your feet clean and dry.
Studies have shown that duct tape is just one of the many ways of treating warts, but by no means is it a cure-all.
"If you have a plantar wart, don't pick or perform bathroom surgery on it. Don't put duct tape on it. See your dermatologist or podiatrist for this and other treatment options, said Vlahovic.