Taking the peril out of pedicures for special needs patients

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 21 at 3:54 PM

FORT WORTH — Normally, Judith Hollingshead wouldn't risk a pedicure, no matter how relaxing it is.

As a diabetic with a heart condition, even a tiny cut could be potentially life-threatening.

"Wounds and things don't heal as fast as normal people," Hollingshead explained.

But a Fort Worth nail salon caters to medically fragile clients. It's called spa270˚, a name that refers to the temperature of the autoclave machine used for sterilizing surgical instruments.

"Everything is one-time use files, one-time use pedicure liners," said spa270˚ owner Philly Arnold. "One-time use everything in here for their protection."

Arnold said the goal is to provide sanitation beyond state regulations, because those laws can't protect some patients.

For example: Clippers are never used on clients taking blood thinners because of the chance of uncontrolled bleeding with even the smallest cut.

Nail specialists are especially gentle with cancer patients who have thin skin due to chemotherapy.

"With diabetics, you must be careful with the temperature of the water because their feeling," Arnold said. "Also in their massages you need to be extra careful, because if they have neuropathy, it could hurt them and bruise them and you wouldn't even know about it."

"With diabetics," adds nail specialist Tomika Brodus, "it's very important that you don't use any type of sharp tools so you don't accidentally have any type of open skin there."

The trend for medical manicures is spreading. At Baylor All Saints in Forth Worth, patients can order a super sanitary manicure or pedicure in their own hospital rooms.

Some doctors used to discourage some patients from getting their nails done because of possible health hazards associated with improperly cleaned nail tools and foot baths.

Donna Steel's specialist referred her. "I'm just trying to be as careful as possible," she said.

The extra care costs a little more. But for clients who couldn't otherwise indulge in this pampering, it takes the peril out of pedicures.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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