Getting a pedicure should, ideally, be a pretty relaxing situation. You’re sprucing up your toes to look good in your sandals, the chairs simulate a massage on your back, and you even get a foot rub out of the deal. Unfortunately, though, the end result of one pedicure definitely wasn’t worth the appointment. A woman almost lost her leg after a pedicure because of this one tool that, unfortunately, you probably use all the time. Yikes!
According to CBS News, Tracy Lynn Martinez, from North Carolina, is blaming a local salon for a serious infection that almost cost her her leg. Martinez says that after getting a pedicure, she got a bad infection on her foot, and she’s claiming it came from a callus cutter. You’ve almost definitely seen one or had it used on you without a second thought; it looks a little like a cheese grater, and is typically used to shave off dead skin on your feet.
Martinez says that she got the pedicure on June 22nd, and by June 23rd, she was feeling very sick with chills, nausea, and vomiting. By June 24th, she was having trouble walking, her leg was very swollen, and she had almost no strength. In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Martinez wrote, “I am [in an] ambulance to the emergency room to find out I am toxic and have a serious case of cellulitis caused by a strep infection in my blood stream caused by the scrapes on the outside of my heel from the callus cutter.” WFMY reported that Martinez had gotten two cuts on her heel from the callus cutter.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulitis is an infection caused by bacteria that enters a crack or a break in the skin. If it is left untreated, it can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream, and can quickly become life-threatening.
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Even scarier than the fact that you’ve almost definitely used this during a pedicure is that Martinez swears her salon was very clean. In her Facebook post, she wrote, “The whirlpool baths have the disposable bags, and they bring the new fresh tools in a new bag, but also bring a nice bacteria infected callus cutter too.” Although she wouldn’t name the salon, she said it was in Winston Salem in North Carolina.
After becoming ill, Martinez discovered that callus cutters are actually not permitted in North Carolina salons. She wrote, “There is no way to properly disinfect this tool to continually [use] on people. I no longer recommend pedicures but definitely say no to these callus shavers if you do go!” And she’s right: According to the North Carolina Board of Cosmetics, callus scrapers are banned in salons in the state (and a number of other states as well).
Luckily, Martinez didn’t lose her leg, and she’s doing okay.
According to CBS, she is still recovering from a two-week stay in the hospital, but will be on medication for the next three months. She has to wear compression stockings to protect her leg from another infection, and she’ll be on medication for the rest of her life.
In her terrifying Facebook post, Martinez wrote, “I have been through hell, pain, shock, all of it… but I want to raise awareness.” She added, “Every day was a new chapter of what was going to happen to my leg. Was I going to lose my leg? Was I going to lose my life?”
We’re glad Martinez didn’t lose her leg or her life and is doing okay, but that experience will be something she’ll never forget. If we’ve learned anything from this story, it’s to avoid callus cutters/shavers forever. If you see one being used in a salon, you can file a report to prevent this from happening to anyone else.