Should I See A Podiatrist Or A Pedicurist?


Let’s face it, most women (and some men) want their feet to look nice or to have fresh nail polish to match their outfit for a special occasion, especially as the weather warms up!   This article goes through the differences between Podiatric care and pedicures and will try and answer the most commonly asked questions regarding the topic.

Are pedicures safe?

While a professional pedicure can help you feel pampered and confident in open toed shoes and summer sandals, there are health risks associated with nail trimming, cuticle clipping and foot soaking. Salon pedicures can put you at risk for developing foot fungal infections, ingrown toenails and other dangerous infections because the instruments used may not be fully sterilised.


What are the risks when I get a pedicure?

Any time you are in a public facility – with lots of customers, the potential for nicks and cuts, and employees who may be too rushed to properly clean equipment and tools – you have a higher chance of contracting bacterial and fungal infections.

For those who have poor circulation in their feet, it is definitely too high risk to have a pedicure where nicks and cuts need to be avoided at all times.  This is because your healing response is slower and a simple cut could likely turn into a nasty wound that will take a long time to heal. 

If you’re wanting to get a pedicure, we encourage people to make sure the nail salon uses sterilised instruments.

Who should NOT get a pedicure?

If you have Diabetes, especially with poor circulation and numbness in your feet, we DO NOT recommend pedicures.  With these conditions, it’s best to avoid places that puts your feet at a higher risk of getting an infection through incorrect nail cutting and skin debriding techniques or through the use of non-sterile equipment.


If I want to have a pedicure, what should I look out for?

There are two main things you should look out for when choosing a pedicurist:

1) Be sure salon employees thoroughly drain, sanitize and rinse the footbaths between customers – bacteria or fungal infections can be introduced from soaking your feet in the water, particularly if you have a small cut, bug bite or scrape. And even if the tub itself is disinfected, the potential for risk is still there – dead skin and bacteria can build up in the foot bath’s hard to clean water jets.

2) Choose a reputable nail salon that is licensed to sterilize its instruments – or a salon that used brand new tools from a sealed package for each customer.

If you want to be safe, forget the footbath and opt for a polish change only!

How do I know if I have a foot infection?

If you’ve recently had a pedicure and concerned you may have an infection, keep an eye out for these common foot conditions:

      Ingrown toenail – the toe will be painful, red and swollen

      Nail fungus – the nail will thicken and change colour (usually yellow or black or white powdery appearance)

      Infection – redness, swelling and heat at infection site (such as on the foot or leg)


What should I do if I suspect I have an infection from a pedicure?

You should see a Podiatrist if it’s an ingrown toenail or a fungal infection. Some cases of fungus can take six months to a year to improve with treatment. If it’s an ingrown toenail, we can reduce the pain at the clinic.

How does a Podiatrist differ to a pedicurist and when should I seek their help?

Having a Podiatrist attend to your feet is very different compared to having a pedicure. Generally, pedicurists are trained to trim your toenails and file a bit of dry hard skin off, with varying results. For some people, this may be all they require, but there are also other reasons why you might want to consider a podiatry treatment over a pedicure.

A Podiatrist is a health professional who has completed a 4 year university course, and has the knowledge and skills to examine and address just about every foot and lower leg problems. 

Podiatrist adhere to National infection and control standards.  Being in a regulated professional body, Podiatrists need to ensure that all of the treatments carried out are evidence based, and undertaken safely with strict infection control.  All the instruments used have to be sterilised to prevent any cross-contamination between patients.

Knowing when to see a Podiatrist is important.  If you have a toothache would you go to see your doctor for your tooth problem? No! You would go to your dentist. So why would you go to a beauty salon for a foot problem?  Come see us for any foot problems you think you may have.  Don’t wait – book an appointment ONLINE now.

16 Comments. Leave new

  • Joyce Mckinney
    February 4, 2023 7:06 am

    My Mom needs her toe nails done ..She takes blood thinner…She lives in Roxboro NC The nail shop doesn’t work on older people nails..

  • Hi Kim, thank you for your blog.
    I have considered to study as a podiatrist but there is an option for a foot health professional course too. I am at the moment doing manicure and pedicure but I would like to know more about pedicure. I’m in the UK. As you said it’s 4 years study to be a podiatrist but It’s a bit a long journey would be for me.
    That’s why I am looking at different options.
    Is there any advice you could give how to go forward so I can give more and better service to my clients.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Lizi, that’s wonderful that you’re considering a career in Podiatry. It does require an investment of your time if you truly feel passionate about helping people. To consider whether this is a valid option for you or not, I would suggest reaching out to a local reputable podiatry clinic and asking them if they’ll allow you to observe what they’re doing. Make sure to fully let them understand your circumstances. I’m sure doing this will give you a better understanding of the profession so that you can make your decisions moving forward. I hope that helps. Good luck for the future!

  • Ingrid Kokshoorn
    June 14, 2022 7:23 pm

    How much is getting toenails cut? Am not in Melbourne just general price?

    • Hi Ingrid, like any private clinics the fee will vary between $70-$100 depending on your location. Keep in mind that when you go to a podiatrist you’re seeing a university graduate who have gone through at least 4 years of hard study and is an expert in all things feet and the lower limb. I hope this helps. Kim

  • Hello. I’m just wondering how a pedicure can cause an ingrown toe nail? Also, why is it not a good idea to see them if you are developing one?

    Thank you for any input.

    • Hi Melissa, we have had customers come in with ingrown toenails after a pedicure. Pedicurist are not trained to treat infected and painful ingrown toenails. It’s also a good idea to learn how your pedicurist is disinfecting the tools they use too. If you have an ingrown toenail, we recommend you seek help from a trained professional such as a podiatrist to fix the problem first before getting your nails done by a pedicurist. I hope that helps

  • Linda sullivan
    March 23, 2021 4:55 am

    I live in Romford arear my nails are very thick discoloured and quiet long as l am unable to bend to cut them any more any help would be appreciated lme a 66yr old lady with hip and knee degenerative osteo arthritis Can you tell me how much it would cost please

    Contact number 07840116075
    RM2 6EY

  • Elizabeth Kangong
    February 6, 2021 1:05 am

    Hi, that you for laying out the differences. I would like to have a personal chat with you..


  • I’ve had 4 viisits to a podiatrists and all she had done is trimmed my toenails. And haven’t done anything about my painfull feet .Is this normal practice

    • Hi Ron, this is definitely NOT normal practice. Have you communicated this with her? If not, then I’d recommend you make sure to describe your pain and problems to her at the start of the consultation so she is clear about your goals and could help you achieve a good outcome. Let me know if you have further questions.

  • Cut and Polish
    July 11, 2020 9:51 pm

    Hi! Thanks for this info! Useful article!

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