Society may portray getting a pedicure as a feminine thing, but let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a good foot soak, scrub, and massage? Not only is it relaxing in the moment, but getting a pedicure is actually extremely important to the health of your feet. Most men do not realize how important taking care of your feet actually is. You don’t have to get your toenails painted – you don’t even have to go to the salon if you’re willing to try it at home – but getting a pedicure is necessary in keeping your feet, and consequently the rest of your body, healthy.
As a podiatrist, I deal with many different types of issues involving feet, and while some instances are worse than others, in many cases they are easily preventable. No one really thinks about contracting fungal infections or ingrown toenails until it actually happens, but you’ll thank yourself later if you take a few steps to prevent them from happening in the first place.
So, What Really Is a Pedicure?
A pedicure is a treatment that removes dead skin, exfoliates, cleans, and refreshes your feet. While you can get it done at a salon for a reasonable price, you can also do it at home if that’s not something you’re comfortable with (although nothing feels better than someone else giving you a massage!) It begins with putting your feet in a basin of warm water, usually with an essential oil or foot soak product to moisturize and add fragrance. You can sit back and relax as your skin and cuticles begin to soften.
From there, your esthetician will push back and sometimes cut your cuticles (the skin that sits right on the nail bed). If you’re doing a pedicure at home, it’s not recommended that you cut them yourself, as it can lead to infections if not done properly. The next steps include exfoliation (scrubbing away dead skin) and treating calluses. In a salon, they will use a variety of tools, but you can accomplish this at home with a pumice stone or foot file. There are even electric devices you can buy to make removing dead skin even easier. This is one of the most important parts of the pedicure because the removal of the dead skin will decrease your chances of contracting any infections.
After exfoliation, your nails will get trimmed, which is crucial in preventing ingrown toenails. The nails should be cut straight across with squared off edges so that the nails can continue to grow in a healthy manner. After your nails are in order, the final (and most enjoyable) step in a pedicure is the massage. Foot and leg massages are proven to be great for your circulation, which will reduce tension in your calves and feet, as well as reduce pain and help distribute heat throughout your entire body. After the massage, a pedicurist will typically paint your toenails with a clear coat of nail polish, but if you’re at home you can skip this one.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? So, let a professional do it! Many guys are intimidated or embarrassed by going to the salon, but you would be surprised at how many men get pedicures regularly. There’s nothing embarrassing about it, in fact, everyone in the salon will probably be impressed that you’re taking care of yourself.
What It Means for Your Health
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many health benefits to getting pedicures regularly. Feet are commonly overlooked when it comes to overall health, even though your feet literally take you everywhere. They are such an important part of your body and a simple 30 minute appointment will ensure that they can continue to carry you through your daily life worry-free. Pedicures will:
- Prevent dry skin: Not only is dry skin itchy and uncomfortable, but it can lead to cracks or blisters on your feet. Using moisturizer throughout your pedicure will make your feet feel healthy and soft.
- Get rid of dead skin: Allowing dead skin to grow on your feet for too long can become uncomfortable or even painful. Exfoliating and removing the dead skin on your feet will cause your feet to produce new, healthy cells to replace the old.
- Improve your circulation: Many of us have jobs where we sit at a desk all day, which is awful for your blood circulation. The foot and leg massage that you will get when you get a professional pedicure will actually improve the health of your entire body. It will make you feel rejuvenated and reduce pain throughout your body.
- Prevent fungal infections: Having moisturized, healthy feet without damaged or dead skin will decrease your chances of contracting any type of fungal infection. These infections thrive on the dead skin that develops when you don’t get pedicures.
- Help you detect foot problems: Having your feet looked at by a professional technician can help you stay informed on any foot problems that might be developing without you even noticing! They will let you know if anything looks abnormal and should be checked out by a doctor. They can also give you personalized advice on treatment options that you might want to look into.
Not only are there so many obvious physical benefits of getting a pedicure, but taking some time every few weeks to get pampered is good for your mental health. Our lives are so busy that we often forget to take time for ourselves to just relax or think. Getting a professional pedicure gives yourself the chance to sit back and let someone else do all the work. You can sit on your phone, listen to music, read a book, or even close your eyes as your technician handles all the dirty work. You will come out of it feeling refreshed and healthy. When was the last time you took some time to just relax and reenergize?
So guys, take my advice: there’s nothing feminine or girly about getting a pedicure. You don’t have to walk out of the salon with hot pink nail polish, but you should definitely give your feet the care they deserve and treat yourself. As men, we face a lot of pressure from society to be masculine and tough, but being manly doesn’t mean you have to neglect giving yourself the care you need and deserve. Many men actually do regularly go to salons to get pedicures, you might even run into one while you’re there. They understand that self care does not have to be a feminine thing, and we should break these stereotypes in order to take proper care of our bodies.
As a podiatrist with years of experience in the field, I have seen countless amounts of cases where patients come in with infections that could have been avoided had they taken better care of their feet. In between pedicures, invest in a good moisturizer and some tools to help keep away the dead skin. While foot care might not be something you think about every day, you’ll surely wish you had once a problem arises. Foot discomfort and pain can hinder your ability to go through daily life, so listen to the experts and take care of your feet. It’s not girly, it’s healthy.
About Dr. Woodly:
Dr. Charlton Woodly is a highly-trained, board-certified podiatrist who brings over 14 years of experience in providing conservative and surgical treatments to patients at Woodly Foot & Ankle in both Weatherford and Richland Hills, Texas.
A specialist in minimally-invasive procedures and a Hyprocure Master Surgeon, Dr. Woodly is an expert in treating the full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions and injuries, including sports injuries, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and toenail fungus. Committed to providing his patients with the most advanced treatment options, he utilizes platelet-rich plasma therapy to remedy heel and ankle pain and dermal fillers to replace natural foot cushioning that has worn down.
Dr. Woodly earned his medical degree at New York College of Podiatric Medicine, followed by an internship and residency at Gouverneur Healthcare Services in Manhattan and Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. In addition to treating patients in his private practice, Dr. Woodly is on staff at Weatherford Regional Medical Center. He is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Texas Podiatric Medical Association.