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A Foot Doctor Breaks Down The Medical Pedicure

medical pedicure

In the last few years, your pedicure has evolved beyond just better-looking feet into taking into account the health of your feet through a medical pedicure. This service combines the aesthetic of traditional pedicures with the knowledge and expertise of medical professionals. Both aspects of the medical pedicure come together to create a holistic, well-rounded approach to foot care. If you would like to learn more about the medical pedicure, its benefits, and who is the right candidate for one, continue to read below.

Your Guide To A Medical Pedicure

Table of Contents:

V. Do I Offer A Medical Pedicure?

medical pedicure

I. What is a medical pedicure?

A medical pedicure also referred to as a podiatry or clinical pedicure, involves the detailed care of the feet by a trained healthcare professional with a focus on addressing different foot conditions.

Podiatrists, foot care nurses, and medical pedicurists typically perform medical pedicures. These professionals possess the expertise and training in identifying various foot-related issues, ranging from common concerns like calluses or corns.

A podiatrist or foot doctor, whether on-site during your pedicure, or actually performing your medical pedicure can diagnose any foot and ankle issue including ingrown toenails, nail fungus, or complications in your feet caused by diabetes, neuropathy, poor blood flow known as peripheral arterial disease, and more.

II. The steps involved in a medical pedicure include:

1. A foot exam is done

The first step in a medical pedicure is an exam of your feet. Professionals examine the skin, nails, and overall foot structure to find any problems or possible issues. This evaluation can set the stage for a personalized treatment plan, tailored just for you.

2. Skin is cleaned and softened

The next step to a medical pedicure is disinfecting the skin and then softening through steam being gently applied to your feet, or moist warm towels being placed around your feet in the case of dry pedicures

3. Nails are trimmed

Trimming and shaping the nails is a key part of the medical pedicure. Professionals pay attention to the proper cutting technique to prevent ingrown toenails and nicks to the skin and cuticle area. Thick nails are trimmed down as much as possible, and the length of your nails is cut as well.

3. Calluses and corns are removed

Calluses and corns are common foot issues and have many causes including too much pressure, rubbing, or plugged sweat glands. A medical pedicure can carefully remove these hardened layers of skin, relieving pain, and preventing further complications like an ulcer in the diabetic or someone with poor blood flow.

4. Exfoliation

To aid in the further removal of dry, flaky, calloused skin, an exfoliator can be used. Some types of exfoliators include salt or sugar scrubs, or a chemical exfoliator like glycolic acid.

5. Moisturizing

Hydration is key for maintaining healthy skin. A medical pedicure often includes applying certain moisturizers to keep the skin on the feet soft and supple. This is particularly important for people with dry skin or those prone to cracking.

III. Benefits of a medical pedicure include:

medical pedicure

1. Prevention of more serious foot problems

One of the big reasons why people opt for a medical pedicure is to focus on preventive care. By addressing and treating issues earlier, professionals can help prevent the development of more serious foot problems.

This proactive approach is essential for people with diabetes, neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, or poor circulation.

2. Less risk of being cut accidentally

There are so many horror stories of people being seriously injured at nail salons while getting a pedicure.

A cut in the skin can turn into a soft tissue infection known as cellulitis. In serious cases, this infection can become worse and lead to bone infection or osteomyelitis. This can lead to amputation of the affected toe.

People working in nail salons are not doctors, nurses, or medical pedicurists. This significantly increases your significantly of accidentally being cut during this service.

During a medical pedicure, you have the satisfaction of knowing that the practitioner is well-trained, and because of this, simple accidents are much less likely to happen, if they happen at all.

3. Better hygiene

Your standard nail salon may not properly sterilize any tools they use. True sterilization of instruments or tools happens 1 or 2 ways. 1. Letting these instruments set in an FDA-approved solution for a while or cold sterilization. 2. Through heating these instruments under very high temperatures and pressure in an autoclave, If neither of these processes happens, then the tools being used are effectively dirty and can be a source of infection from viruses, bacteria, or fungi.

During a medical pedicure, instruments and tools used on you will be sterilized, to be sure that no diseases can be passed from person to person. Disposable tools can also be used. Hygiene protocols are typically much stricter during a medical pedicure than your average pedicure.

IV. Who Should Get a Medical Pedicure?

medical pedicure

As a foot doctor, most people could benefit from a medical pedicure, as opposed to your typical pedicure. I do think that there are certain groups of people that a medical pedicure is great for. These groups include:


Probably the largest group that could benefit from a medical pedicure are those individuals who are older, especially over the age of 65.

There are certain feet changes with age can be experienced like fat loss to the bottom of your foot, new corns, callouses, toenail thickening, and more. Also, mobility and just being able to reach your feet safely as you get older can become a new challenge.

A medical pedicure ensures that your feet are being well taken care of and that any changes can be addressed before they become bigger problems.


Diabetes can cause many changes to your feet including corns, calluses, dry or cracked skin, thick toenails due to nail fungus infection, and the development of hammertoes or bunions. Numbness, tingling, or burning in the feet can also be experienced in the diabetic due to neuropathy.

Circulation can also be an issue in diabetic feet as well. All of these changes increase a diabetic's risk of developing an ulcer or a sore on their foot. If this ulcer becomes infected, it can lead to hospitalization and amputation.

A medical pedicure for the diabetic can be life-saving because any concerning changes in the feet can be addressed before an ulcer forms.

Those dealing with neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a kind of nerve damage that has many causes including diabetes, poor blood flow, a history of alcoholism, vitamin deficiency, or use of chemotherapy drugs. Neuropathy in the feet can cause numbness, tingling, burning, or outright pain.

If you're unable to feel your feet because of neuropathy, it can be extremely dangerous to attempt to trim your toenails yourself. An accidental cut can go unnoticed, which delays treatment, and can lead to infection, hospitalization, and amputation.

If you suffer from neuropathy, a medical professional should be the only person trimming your toenails or calluses.

Those with poor circulation (Peripheral Arterial Disease - PAD)

Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD leads to poor or not enough circulation. In the legs and feet, this can lead to cramping or pain, hair loss, tight shiny skin, skin color changes, and wounds taking much longer to heal than normal.

An accidental cut during a pedicure for someone with PAD can be dangerous because blood flow is needed for healing, This potentially can lead to infection and even hospitalization and amputation.

For someone with PAD, like those with neuropathy, and diabetes, a medical pedicure can be life-saving.

Again, if you have PAD, no one other than a trained medical professional should be trimming your nails and calluses.

Those with an eye for wellness

Medical pedicures can benefit those without any serious health problems as well. If you would like a medical professional to look at your feet regularly and provide a high, personalized, professional level of care, then a medical pedicure is great for you.

V. Do I Offer A Medical Pedicure at Direct Podiatry Arizona?

medical pedicure

At this time unfortunately I do not offer the full medical pedicure experience with steaming, exfoliation, and moisturizing, but I do offer nail and callus trimming to my patients. Each visit does come with an exam, and any changes to your feet will be addressed to lower the risk of any further foot issues down the line.

VI. Key Takeaways

A medical pedicure is a more recent addition to the health and wellness space combining aesthetics and medicine to foot care and maintenance. The majority of people could benefit from a medical pedicure including those who have a mind for wellness and want a holistic way to care for their feet.

Patients who are diabetic, or those with neuropathy or PAD should always opt for a medical pedicure, or a nail and callus trimming at their podiatrist's office, as opposed to a regular pedicure in a nail salon to lower the risk of accidental nicks, cuts, and infection due to instruments not being sterilized properly, if at all.

Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona Today

Looking for a foot doctor in the Phoenix area? Hello, my name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view my available appointment times, click here.

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