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Cosmetic vs Medical Pedicure

Many People May Confuse a Foot Clinic With a Nail Salon or Spa

The truth of the matter is, the two are very different. One focuses on the assessment and treatment of your foot issues, and the other on aesthetics and beauty. Here we will describe the similarities and differences (but mostly differences) of one particular service a foot clinic and a nail salon may offer pedicures. This quick and easy read will help you decide which service, a cosmetic pedicure or a medical pedicure, is best suited for you and your foot needs.

If cosmetic pedicures and medical pedicures have one thing in common, it is that they both tend to the toenails and skin of an individual’s foot. The purpose and details of these treatments are where the differences lie. A cosmetic pedicure is described as a beauty and therapeutic treatment for the toenails and feet. It involves removing dead skin, softening the skin, trimming and shaping the toenails, cutting back cuticles, and the optional application of polish. It is focused on providing space and time for pampering and relaxation.

Medical pedicures, on the other hand, involve the assessment and treatment of toenail and skin pathologies of the foot. They are performed by a medical health professional, specifically a chiropodist or a podiatrist, who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. At an appointment for a medical pedicure, a chiropodist will start by taking a full medical history, including current and past health conditions or morbidities, a list of active medications, and the main concern that prompted the visit. He or she will then proceed to check for the following: 

  • Proper and adequate circulation/blood flow
  • Proper and adequate nerve function   
  • Signs and symptoms of infection (ie bacterial, fungal, or viral)
  • Signs and symptoms of skin pathologies (ie callus, corns, psoriasis, eczema/dermatitis)
  • Signs and symptoms of nail abnormalities (ie thickened toenails, ingrown toenails, discoloured toenails)

Untitled-1Treatment

Treatment involves proper trimming and filing of the toenails as well as addressing any significant medical findings and complaints of pain. This may include the use of prescription or over the counter medications, physical reduction of nails and thickened skin, and education on how to prevent complications or reoccurrence. For instance, chiropodists treat fungal toenail infections using mechanical reduction of the nail and topical prescription medications. They also safely remove thickened calluses and painful corns down to normal skin using the precision of a surgical blade. Healthy, properly trimmed nails and smooth supple skin on your feet reduce risks of infection and can ultimately, significantly improve the quality of your life.

All treatments from a chiropodist are performed using medical grade products and a fresh set of sterilized instruments for each client. The sterilization process used by chiropodists will remove and kill all forms of life that should not be transferred between individuals, in particular micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and spores. 

Finally, 

A medical pedicure is typically pain-free and can be relaxing as well. In fact, many clients will leave an appointment feeling much more comfortable than when they arrived. You can say, a medical pedicure is a way to pamper yourself in a health-conscious way. 

In the end, choosing what kind of pedicure is right for you will depend on what you are aiming to accomplish. 

If you are looking to groom your feet and leave with a freshly painted set of toenails, a cosmetic pedicure may be the right choice for you.

If you are looking to address any nail or skin abnormalities and/or other foot concerns, no matter how mild or severe, a medical pedicure is the right choice for you. If you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is highly recommended to seek nail care from a medical health professional. Routine medical pedicures will ensure your feet are on the right path to proper foot health by managing existing problems as well as detecting issues early on and treating them in their early stages.

Looking for a Foot Clinic in Downtown Toronto? We Can Help!


Book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists for a medical pedicure today.  Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the spectrum, or you are just looking to have a general assessment of your nails and skin, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs. 

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Click to Book Your Assessment Today!

Here’s to Many More Years of Foot Care!

At Feet First Clinic, we’re always excited to welcome new clients! After a successful 12 years of treating our amazing patients, we’re ready to continue offering only the best foot care services and products. Give us a call to ask our friendly staff any questions you may have! Our Toronto foot specialists are ready to help!

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.