The Daily Beauty: Margaret Dabbs Podiatry & Medical Pedicure

by Sasha Wilkins on February 5, 2013 · 9 comments

Margaret Dabbs medical pedicure

Yup that is my left foot. Sorry guys. But I wanted to show that two weeks after I had a medical pedicure at Margaret Dabbs, my feet are still in pretty good nick: which, considering the abuse I give them via 4inch and higher heels is extremely pleasing. And, given what my nails looked like when I turned up, it is even more of a bloomin’ miracle.

Just over three years ago I wrote about my first visit to the Margaret Dabbs foot clinic in London’s Marylebone. I was absolutely thrilled with the results, but what really surprised me was how few people knew about the existence of medical pedicures. Of course, the French know all about the pedicure medicale, but here in the UK? Not so much.

I’ve been taking my poor high-heel abused feet off for check ups by qualified podiatrists practically since I moved down to London from university.  Dr Scholl used to have foot health clinics at the back of their shoe stores, and when I had abused my feet rather too much I would potter off for a foot check up, to make sure there were no bunions forming, that my nails were growing as they should (I wore a lot of savagely pointed toes in the late 90s), and that I hadn’t picked up any nasties off the floor in the gym. They also got the scalpels out and removed all the hard skin. Fabulous. Then they shut all the clinics down. Poo.

So I was thrilled when I returned from America to discover that there was a new wave of foot clinics, thanks to the afore-mentioned Margaret Dabbs, who is very much in evidence (not just a figurehead). Of course, her highly qualified podiatrists deal with diabetes patients, orthotics, the elderly and all sorts of people with conditions that mean their feet need to be monitored regularly but, for someone like me with no major foot problems, they are a sensible place to visit twice a year to check that everything is as it should be.

As a sidebar, it may come as a surprise to learn that podiatry is a discipline that doesn’t exist in every country — Japan, for example, does not have podiatrists, yet looking after your feet is so very important. Podiatry itself is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg: essentially what we used to call chiropody. But, unless you have diabetes (which comes with all manner of foot-related problems), it’s unusual for people to see a podiatrist as regularly as they wld say a dental hygienist.

Pedicures are all very well — and I have one at least every fortnight, yet beauticians do not have (in my experience) the knowledge to point out potential foot problems. In all the years I have been getting pedicures only once on either side of the Atlantic has a beautician pointed out a cause of concern (I had a verucca that had gone un-noticed for months.) The other good reason for a medical pedicure is that they will cut your nails in a way that lets them grow properly if, like me, you have a tendency to nails that dig into your toes.

Margaret Dabbs Medical Pedicure

I was absolutely horrified when my polish was removed at a beauty salon in November just before I went to Los Angeles, and my big toe nails were almost entirely white and roughened from over-polishing and dehydration. I determined to take a break from the polish and the pedicures during the winter months to give my nails time to breathe and get back to normal again.

So, by the time I arrived at Margaret Dabbs a fortnight ago, my feet were like little hooves (above). My podiatrist cheerfully set to transforming my friable, parched nails into glossy shell-like things, and explaining that I really needed to use nail oil regularly to stop the dehydration, and recommended using a foot scrub twice a week or so in the shower to to keep the skin in good condition. Luckily she didn’t find anything wrong: no bunions for me yet.

After you have had your feet checked over by a podiatrist, you can then indulge in lovely painted nails, although I eschewed the polish this time: my toe nails are going to breathe a little longer.

www.margaretdabbs.co.uk
7 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 8UU

Margaret Dabbs Sole Spa at Liberty, Marlborough Street, London W1B 5AH

LLG was a guest of Margaret Dabbs

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica February 5, 2013 at 03:54

I read your first post about this medical pedicure way back when you first wrote about it. Then I put her salon on my list of things to do as soon as I got back to London. In May 2012, my flight landed at Heathrow at 6:30am (Dulles to Heathrow in 6 1/2 not so miserable hours). I dropped my bags bags, hailed a taxi and was in a Margaret Dabbs chair by 10:30am.

I soooo wish I could do that once a month. If you have any pull, have her open a spa here in DC!!! Those proliferate cheap Asian places are a dime a dozen but there’s a reason they’re so inexpensive. You don’t get much other than a polish change.

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Rose February 5, 2013 at 08:57

was a lucky enough to go once (to the one at Liberty)- completely amazing I agree and worth every penny- especially compared to really over priced purely cosmetic paint job pedicures that cost £50- one very well known spa I went to did a worse job than I would do myself.

I’m saving to go again as I have massive bunion paranoia, though so far, touch wood, all seems well

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Sarah February 5, 2013 at 09:58

I can vouch for a regular medi pedis. I have (or should say had) a problem with ingrowing toenails. Moved to Germany and discovered medical pedis. Every small town has at least one Fußpfleger (literally foot carer) usually in partnership with a physio practice. I now go every 4 weeks to get my toenails trimmed and any rough skin removed (cost around 14 euros). I would be lost without my Fußpfleger…

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Lady Jane Grey February 5, 2013 at 17:01

O.K., next time I have to try their medical pedicure – their normal (cosmetic)pedicure was disappointing and the result lasted few days only.

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mary February 5, 2013 at 17:31

You must be mad. Go to an ordinary chiropodist – the kind your granny would go to – and in London it costs about £25-30. (The girls in those Scholl clinics weren’t qualified chiropodists.)

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Jill Calder February 5, 2013 at 19:43

I had my first proper medi pedi in a proper, quite clinical beautician’s place in Spain! Absolutely fabulous treatment, that included a scalpel. A thing like cheese slice and a Dremel rotating drill! Result…feet that looked great and the effects lasted for a few months until I was next back there! I cannot stand paying 25/30 quid nowadays for somethings that calls itself a pedicure involving a quick footbath in some bath bubbles, a shape and polish. Yet to find someone that does this near me in Scotland…but it’s always a good excuse to go to Spain! Great article!

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mudhousejane February 7, 2013 at 10:39

I am sitting here with my horribly cracked heels swathed in Vaseline and cotton socks. My feet are vile. I have the odd pedicure but after being infected during a wax footbath some years ago, many of my nails have developed an alarming thickness (and do not respond to prescribed treatment). Your post has reminded me that maybe it’s time to visit a podiatrist again: thanks. I used one regularly whilst pregnant (back in the dark ages) but as with a few things, have let that slide over the years.

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Yogirl February 8, 2013 at 19:57

Besides having a great stylist and colorist for my hair getting a medical pedicure for me is even more valuable than getting a facial or a manicure.

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Lucy February 11, 2013 at 12:22

It’s so impressive how thorough the Medical Pedicure treatment was and really eye-opening to see the difference from having a pedicure on a dry foot. Yvonne, my podiatrist was so knowledgeable and she truly transformed my feet.

Throughout the treatment it was very useful to see first hand how the safe surgical removal of all the dry and dead skin and calluses on my feet were taken care of. It was so luxurious and I liked the use of the Beauty for the Feet range within the treatment.

My feet were left in fantastic shape and I would definitely go again – I’ve been recommending it to all my friends too.

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