The Surprising Dangers Of A Pedicure & What You Can Do About It

Posted on: 3 November 2014


Pedicures are supposed to be relaxing and pampering, but they can also carry hidden dangers. Getting fungal, bacterial or viral infections from a pedicure is not only possible, but is fairly common. Here is some information on how these infections happen, what you can do about it and how to prevent them from happening again.

Causes & Types Of Infection

If salon instruments aren't properly sanitized, they can transmit bacteria from one client to another. Bacteria and skin cells from prior clients are left behind in foot baths, particularly the kind with bubble jets. Tweezers, scissors and buffing tools may be exposed to other clients' blood. In these environments, viruses and bacteria thrive and can infect you without your knowledge.

A simple razor cut on your leg from shaving or a small, accidental nick to your toe by the pedicurist can allow bacteria and viruses like athlete's foot, toenail fungus or MRSA (antibiotic-resistant flesh-eating bacteria) directly into your bloodstream. One woman who had a pedicure subsequently suffered an MRSA infection that hospitalized her for eight weeks; another died from the infection.


If you suspect that you might have a wound that's infected after a pedicure, or experience flu-like symptoms, do not attempt to deal with the wound on your own. Instead, see a podiatrist immediately. Podiatrists are specially trained doctors that have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat problems with your feet. Whether it's a mild case of a foot fungus or something more severe, they're the best equipped to handle the situation. For more information, contact Center for Foot Care or a similar location.


If you're not ready to give up your pedicures, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself in the future.

  • Check Their Reviews - Before choosing a salon to have a pedicure, check online to see if anyone else has reported having problems with the salon.
  • Don't Be Shy About Sanitation - Ask questions before your pedicure and during it. Ask if the instruments are cleaned regularly, and that disposable products like files are disposed of between clients. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, foot baths should be completely drained and disinfected for at least 10 minutes between uses.
  • Avoid Shaving Your Legs Beforehand - The tiniest cut in your leg might not be noticeable to you, but it could allow bacteria into your body.

Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself against pedicure infection is to do it yourself in a safe, clean environment at home. But if you really want to have it done in a salon, take precautions, monitor your feet and legs after the pedicure, and don't be afraid to contact a podiatrist if something seems to be wrong.