How A Pedicure Can Help Fix Your Gross Feet

You’ll never want to hide your feet after following these tips.

by Bryan Levandowski
Originally Published: 
Jon Feingersh Photography Inc / Getty Images

Far too many men have gross feet. Chalk it up to a lack of attention. “Men don't think about foot care unless something hurts or is slowing down their daily life,” says Marcela Correa, licensed medical pedicurist and Founder of Medi Pedi NYC. As a result, feet are overlooked, and proper foot care routines are either ignored or never developed, leaving them vulnerable to several conditions including nail fungal infections, athlete’s foot, or ingrown toenails.

The truth is, the solution is so simple. While pedicures have long been seen as a service reserved for women, there’s no good reason to skip them as a man. It’s not just for aesthetic reasons either — your general well-being is at stake. “Your feet are your body’s foundation,” Correa said. “The smallest change can throw off your way of life and limit your independence.” Nail Fungi can spread to other areas of the foot and become athlete’s foot, causing the soles of the feet and the area in between the toes to itch, peel and crack. Untreated hardened calluses can form into cracked heels, causing pain and discomfort that could potentially lead to more serious ailments like ulcers and skin lesions. Even the smallest callus buildup or corn can cause you to shift how you walk or stand, potentially causing harm to your back alignment over time. Therefore, when it comes to foot ailments, the nip-it-in-the-bud approach is the wisest.

The Case For The Male Pedicure

“Just like women’s feet, men’s feet get a lot of abuse,” Correa says. One main cause of many foot problems is the shoes we wear. Correa points out that business shoes — which certainly aren’t made for comfort — can cause corns on the small toes, as well as blisters, calluses, and cracked heels. Tight-fitting shoes can lead to athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection. There’s also nail fungus, which can cause toenails to harden, become brittle, and eventually crack or even fall off. And while many guys tend to brush off any of these conditions as a minor inconvenience, Correa explained that left untreated, even minor foot issues could turn into something more serious.

If any of the above apply to you, a proper medical pedicure can help solve any ongoing problems while creating a prevention plan for future foot-related ailments. Correa explains that a medical pedicure is performed by a specialized nail technician that has been trained under a podiatrist and is skilled to address conditions like nail fungus, athlete’s foot, calluses, and corns, using medical-grade tools and products. Perhaps best of all, they’ll also educate you on the steps you can take at home to help minimize future issues.

Even if none of the above conditions apply to you, Correa points out that many guys seek pedicures for their stress-relieving benefits, namely reflexology massages. “For the clients that travel a lot, are on their feet for hours, or carry heavy equipment, they like to come into the office to relax while their concerns are being addressed.”

What To Expect In A Pedicure

Correa explained that most men who have healthy feet, to begin with could start by opting for a “regular” pedicure. This usually includes a soak in warm, soapy water, followed by minor exfoliation of dead skin, nail cutting, cuticle trimming, and a final filing and buffing to give nails a healthy, natural sheen. Some even throw in a few minutes of massage action. You’re typically in and out in 30 minutes. However, guys experiencing any of the previously-mentioned conditions require major foot-related R&R and should seek a salon or spa that offers medical-grade pedicure treatments. Here, the nail tech will assess the condition or conditions that brought you in, and formulate a treatment to help alleviate your symptoms. While the latter is, in most cases, less pampering, the relief you’ll feel both immediately and in the long run is the ultimate indulgence.

In finding a quality salon, start by reading specific reviews, not just looking at the star rating. It’s no secret that many nail salons cut corners when it comes to cleanliness, and you’re out to cure a potential fungal infection, not acquire one. If you have any doubts, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Put any foot-related embarrassment aside and explain every concern you have. At the end of the day, it may not be your life you’re putting into their hands, but your feet are just as important.

Correa said the frequency with which you should get regular pedicures depends on what you’re treating. “Clients who get recurring ingrown toenails or those that are treating nail fungus or athlete's foot should opt for monthly treatments. If monthly is not possible at least every 6-8 weeks.” And for anyone with healthy feet just looking to maintain their health and vitality, she said once a season is fine, but by all means, go as often as you like.

How To Maintain Healthy Feet At Home

Prevention is the most important benefit of getting pedicures. “Cleaning your feet and cutting your nails the right way will prevent ailments that are not only hard to eradicate but can be painful and cause a ripple effect that can change your way of life in the future,” Correa said. Therefore, developing a regular foot care routine can both maintain the benefits of a pedicure and help prevent future problems from sprouting up.

Here are some tips:

  • Change socks regularly: This should be a given, but Correa stressed the importance of grabbing a new pair of socks every time you exercise to keep bacteria and fungus at bay.
  • Don’t walk barefoot: Unless you happen to be in a sterilized environment, the floor and ground are covered with any number of pathogens including bacteria and yeasts which could cause problems in people with vulnerable feet.
  • Adopt a basic foot care routine: Correa’s basic plan can help preclude many common foot problems before they start. Exfoliate once a week with a foot file; moisturize feet every day with a foot cream, preferably one that contains urea, which helps reduce dead skin buildup and softens feet; apply oil to toenails to help keep nails from turning brittle and cracking.
  • Clean the inside of your shoes: Correa recommends using a UV shoe sterilizer daily to contain fungus-causing bacteria that could ruin otherwise healthy feet.

At the end of the day, Correa said that caring for your feet is just as important as caring for your teeth, and maintaining their health could help prevent ailments that can be painful and costly to treat in the future.

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