'Tis the season for pedicures...even for the guys! Many runners have regular pedicures to keep your feet looking good in the summer, but are they good for you? There is much controversey about this and the short answer is they are both good and bad. Pedicures can be
useful for runners in maintaining healthy feet, but you do need to practice a little caution when you head to the salon. A typical
pedicure includes a warm water foot soak, cuticle and nail trim and file, buffing/shaving of calluses, polish and a foot and lower leg
massage. All of which can be useful in keeping your feet healthy.
The area of caution is in the buffing and shaving of calluses. If this is done too aggressively, it can cause problems with blisters,
especially if done too close to a long training run or a race. In fact, many even suggest skipping the buffing altogether due to a risk in developing blisters. Most salons have stopped "shaving" due to risk of infection. If they get out that tool, ask them to use the buff and to do so very gently...The best thing to do is to tell the pedicurist that you are a runner and you want a soft, gentle buff (or none at all). And if you have huge calluses that are painful, it is best to see a sports doc to evaluate the best way for them to be removed.
For those that are new to getting pedicures, don't expect the magic to happen overnight. It's like running, depending on the condition of your feet, it may take a few months and a couple of pedicures to get your feet on the right path.
If you are an endurance runner training for an event, schedule your pedicures well in advance of your longest training runs (1 month) and after the race to avoid the risk of blistering. Some may not experience problems, especially if you forego the callus work, but it
is always wise to error on the side of caution.
Also make sure the salon is clean and sterilizes the tools before and after each pedicure. This is not the place to save money. It pays
to invest in a salon that will take care of you.