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.
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.
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