We all love treating ourselves to a mani-pedi pampering session at the local beauty salon, getting our finger and toenails cut, soaked, buffed, massaged and polished. The reality is, however, that these high-end beauty salons are only cosmetically treating our nails and are ignoring the real health issues of our feet and hands. For people living with Lymphedema, manicures and pedicures can pose a real risk for infection if they are not carefully performed by professional nail technicians that use extremely clean, sterile tools. Most caregivers recommend that lymphies avoid beauty salon nail treatments and instead do it themselves at home, which can be difficult for those of us with mobility issues (or for those who simply just want to have someone else do the work!).

The good news is that it’s still possible to have your nails done professionally, thanks to The Medical Pedicure. A medical pedicure is a non-invasive, dry procedure that is performed by highly skilled foot care specialists, like chiropodists or podiatrists. They are qualified to identify a wide range of foot conditions and have the appropriate tools on hand to perform remedial work such as removing warts and hard skin, treating fungal nail infections, athletes foot, nail discolouration, calluses and correcting ingrown toenails. Every aspect of foot care and health is addressed, from your skin to your nails and even the bones underneath your feet.

Before and after a medical pedicure [source:]
Medical Pedicures are performed in very sterile conditions, using one-time-only tools that come in sealed, sterilised packages that are thrown away once they have been used. The focus on hygiene and preventing cross-contamination between clients is of the utmost importance. Therapists possess a skill level that is not seen in your average high-street nail salons and use much more sophisticated technologies and tools (like laser treatments) to provide a very thorough treatment of your feet.

How is a medical pedicure performed?

A medical pedicure lasts around 45 minutes and starts with an evaluation of the feet, skin and toenails. Once the therapist has identified problem areas, they commence with a deep clean of the entire foot and nails using disinfectant products to kill any bacteria that might be on the feet. Next, they work on sanding, buffing and shaping the nails and treat any ingrown toenails or discolouration that might be present. The feet are then transformed with the safe surgical removal of dead skins cells, corns, blisters, calluses, dry and cracked heels or fungal infections, helping to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the skin.


No water is used during this process because it increases the risk of infection and cross-contamination between clients. Likewise, therapists request that people bring their own nail polishes if they wish to have the nails coloured to avoid this risk of sharing bacteria. Some therapists offer foot and hand massages but other’s don’t, so best to double check before booking if this is a service you require.

Who can benefit from a medical pedicure?

Everyone living with Lymphedema or who is at risk of developing it, whether you are male or female, young or old, would benefit greatly from medical pedicures as part of their nail and skin care regime. Thanks to their sterile and safe practices, medical pedicures help reduce the risk of infections, such as cellulitis, which is extremely important for people with compromised lymphatic systems. We should also mention that medical manicures also exist for upper arm Lymphedema patients and follow all the same principals as the foot treatments!

Aside from Lymphedema patients, medical pedicures are also great for anyone who generally cares about their foot health and wishes to have a pedicure in a safer, more hygienic environment. They are also beneficial for:

  • Diabetic patients
  • Arthritis sufferers
  • Runners
  • Dance professionals
  • Athletes (professional or enthusiasts)
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Wait staff and bartenders
  • Postal workers
  • Police officers
  • People who are on their feet all day
  • People who wear high heels daily
  • Anyone self-conscious about their feet

A quick google search should bring up specialists in your local area. In some countries, medical pedicures and manicures are reimbursed by health insurance, so be sure to ask your provider if your coverage includes this.



The North American School of Podology



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