Summer Toenails

Summer Toenails

By Gabrielle Lee-Kim, DPM, AACFAS

Everyone wants nice toenails for the flipflop season when the summer comes around. 


They rush to nail salons and get their nails done before going to the beach. However, nobody thinks about some of the risks of pedicure especially when the tools are not sanitized well and the nails are improperly  cut. 

Not every nail salon carries a machine to “autoclave” the tools. Autoclaves operate at high temperature and pressure to decontaminate biological wastes and kill microorganisms.  If tools are not properly autoclaved after each use, it can cause infections either fungal or bacterial which can lead to serious pedal problems such as soft tissue ulcers or even bone infections (osteomyelitis). 

All podiatry offices own autoclave machines where every tool gets sterilized after single use. It is highly recommended to get the toenails cut with clean tools at the podiatrist’s office and then go to nail salon for the paint only.  

When the nails are improperly trimmed, it can cause an ingrown nail, which can also become infected (paronychia). Paronychia happens when the piece of sharp nail near the nailfolds dig into the skin and cause inflammation and cellulitis. It can produce pus drainage and cause significant pain. Often times it needs a course of antibiotics and nail procedure (partial or total nail avulsion) by the podiatrist. Personally I have seen a significant increase in paronychia incidents in the summer time after pedicure.

Conclusion: having nicely colored toenails are attractive in the summer time, but have the podiatrists debride the toenails in a proper way with proper tools first then go to nail salon for the coloring.

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