Pedicure vs Podiatrist

person having a pedicure done on their feet on the left, person having their nails cared for by a podiatrist on the right

With stage 4 restrictions currently in place for Victoria, a lot of people are struggling to manage their foot health at home. Previously, a lot of people have relied heavily on pedicures every few weeks. However, with salons currently closed, they may be wondering where they can go for their foot care needs.

While we both work with feet, seeing a podiatrist for your foot health is very different to visiting a salon for a pedicure. Some people may not realise, but sometimes the work of a podiatrist involves fixing mistakes that have been made at a salon. These things are not limited to, but can include ingrown toenails, warts, fungal nails, tinea and wounds.

What’s the difference between a Pedicure and Podiatry Consultation?

In the table below, we’ve outlined the differences in practices and procedures between getting a pedicure at a salon and a consultation with a podiatrist.

Pedicure at a SalonPodiatrist Consultation
Those working in salons are not medically trained.Podiatrists are medically trained and obtain a university degree in health science and podiatric practice. With an abundance of knowledge in foot health, we can help with how to appropriately manage all foot and ankle conditions.
Feet are usually washed in a basin. While this softens the skin, there are concerns about hygiene and sanitation procedures, as they are rarely cleaned properly between each customer.Your feet are not washed as this can lead to hygiene issues. Instead, we use hospital grade disinfectant wipes which are safe for your skin.
A salon uses a ‘grater’ like tool to treat callus and rough skin. This can be effective, however, it can also be uncomfortable, sometimes produce a burning sensation.Podiatrists are trained to appropriately use a scalpel and sanding disc to safely manage callus and smooth out rough skin.
Incorrect nail and skin management can lead to further complications.Podiatrists are trained on how to correctly manage nail and skin conditions to avoid painful issues, such as ingrown toenails.
Cuticles are pushed back to improve the appearance of the nail. The cuticle is there to help keep your nail/skin junction water tight – similar to a bit like silicon in the shower.Podiatrists do not push the cuticles back as this can lead to infection of the nail and cuticle. Instead, we manage them more conservatively using other instruments.
Nails are painted and a massage is provided.Podiatrists do not paint toenails as long term nail polish use can damage the nail. Instead, we educate on healthy ways to manage your nails, so that you can wear nail polish occasionally – such as in summer or to events. We will often massage your feet at the end of the consultation using moisturiser. We can also provide massage for sports injuries.
Gloves are not always worn by those working in salons.Podiatry clinics take infection control extremely seriously. Podiatrists will always wear disposable gloves when providing general foot care.
Tools are not sterilised to a medical standard, if at all. Patients often comment on the same tools being used on every customer.All of a podiatrist’s instruments are sterilised after every patient in an autoclave, to a medical standard. We are audited for this process, where we must have thorough and accurate record keeping. This ensures we maintain an exceptionally high level of sterilisation.
Contact surfaces such as basins and chairs are not sanitised between customers.Podiatrists will wipe down the treatment chair, their chair and their trolley between patients. This is in accordance with infection control protocols.

As you can see above, there are a lot of differences when it comes to getting a pedicure and visiting a podiatrist. While we both might work with feet, the health and wellbeing of your feet is a podiatrist’s number one priority.

If you are suffering from any issues, or concerned about the health of your skin and nails, Watsonia Podiatry is here to help.

Make an appointment for a consultation today by calling (03) 9432 2689 or Booking Online here.


Aaron Dri