Diabetes affects over 28 million people in the U.S. and half will develop a debilitating condition called peripheral neuropathy. This is when high levels of sugar in your blood start to affect your nerves causing numbness, tingling and intermittent burning to the hands and more often to the feet. The most troubling is losing the protective ability to feel sensation, like hot water from a bath or a cut from stepping down on a sharp object. Once neuropathy develops, it is not likely reversible but good sugar control can slow down the progression.
This is one of several reasons why patients with diabetes are discouraged from going to a nail salon but once you know how you can protect yourself and you find a salon you trust (try looking into medical spas as a starting point), you too can have fancy feet. Here are some pointers (also refer to the last post "Are your feet spring ready?"):
- Bring your own clean instruments & polish (including a clear base & top color to make it last longer)
- Don't shave your legs the day of your pedicure, any small cuts can introduce bacteria and cause folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles)
- If using a foot bath, make sure it has been sanitized or that they use a disposable plastic bag to line the bath
- Be vocal, tell the technician to not press back on the cuticle or trim thick tissue with sharp instruments (a disposable file or your own is ok)
- If you already know you have poor circulation (which sometimes is associated with diabetes & heart disease), bypass the use of any sharp instruments and ask for polish only
If in doubt, don't try it out and seeing a foot doctor is reasonable and proper!