A regular pedicure can be a relaxing and enjoyable part of your regular foot care routine and there is no shortage of fantastic salons in Boston or anywhere else. Foot care is serious business, though. So, before you head to your favorite foot care salon, there are a few key things to remember to protect your foot health.

1. Bring your own instruments and files. Many foot care salons use a fresh set of instruments for each client, but if you are unsure of the salon's policy, bring your own.

2. Do not soak your feet without you are able to use a fresh liner in the basin. Improper cleaning of the basins can result in the spread of bacterial, fungal and viral infections, including plantar warts.

3. Ask the nail technician to cut toenails straight across and to slightly file any sharp edges. Straight edges will decrease the chances for an ingrown toenail.

4. Choose lighter colors or polish without formaldehyde. Darker polishes and formulas containing formaldehyde can result in yellowing of the nails. Formaldehyde is also drying to nails and can cause nails to become weakened and brittle over time.

5. Leave nails unpolished and open to air for a week or so every couple of months. Over time, nail polish can leave nails brittle and susceptible to breakage. Giving them a break once in awhile by substituting a quick buff without polish can help minimize damage.

6. Cuticles around the toenails should only be gently pushed back, never cut. Any type of cutting, either with clippers or scissors can result in infection.

7. Call a podiatrist immediately if:

• You suspect that you have an ingrown toenail;

• Your toenails become thick or discolored;

• You notice peeling or itchiness on the feet; Egypt

• You develop any new calluses or rough areas on the skin.

By taking a proactive approach, you can ensure that your feet look wonderful and stay healthy. If you will be visiting a salon you have not used before, call ahead ask about their sanitation policies. Most foot care salons are proud of their good practices and are happy to share this information. If they are not, try another foot care salon instead. Do not take chances with your health.

If a problem develops after your treatment, do not hesitate to consult with a podiatry professional.