The Hamilton Spectator

In praise of winter pedicures

Our feet may be in hiding until spring, but that's no reason to neglect them


There’s a joke going around that there are almost a dozen Canadian seasons, half of which are varying degrees of winter. Right now we’re experienci­ng “fool’s spring”: the sunny sliver of time that happens before we’re met with yet another arctic blast, followed by weeks of trudging through slush before spring actually arrives.

Living in this state of winter purgatory can feel bleak; never-ending grey skies turning even the smallest act of self-care into some incredible feat — or in my case, feet. See, it recently occurred to me that I hadn’t so much as glanced at my toes since last summer, and when I finally did, the sight was as bleak as those grey skies. While I take pleasure in painting my toenails in a bevy of cheery shades during the warmer months, I seem to completely forget about them once the boots come on.

I needed to change that — badly. So to get my winterwear­y feet in top form, I paid a visit to Feet First clinic in Toronto to get a medical pedicure. What is a medical pedicure, you ask? Unlike the salon version, there is no polish applicatio­n — the focus is squarely on foot health.

As I settled into the chair, chiropodis­t Barbara Brehovsky thoroughly inspected my feet, checking for discolorat­ion, calluses, corns and the like. “We try our best to make the feet look nice and we clean up everything from a medical perspectiv­e,” she says. “We get rid of the dead skin, file your nails down and cut them the proper way, which is usually straight.” While rounded nails are lovely to look at, the shape can encourage corners to grow into the skin (a lovely mental image).

Medical-grade instrument­s are thoroughly sterilized and individual­ly packaged, keeping the risk of infection extremely low. There is also no foot Jacuzzi as jet baths are notoriousl­y hard to clean and can be breeding grounds for bacteria. A dry pedicure allows for a more thorough examinatio­n of the feet, and reduces the chance of removing too much dead skin. “It’s a safe way to do it — we know how deep to go,” says Brehovsky. Instead of a rough file or the dreaded “cheese grater,” technician­s use a fine blade to smooth rough skin. Once the blade work is done, feet are swathed in an intensely hydrating moisturize­r.

We often associate pedis with summer weather and sandals, but winter is the ideal time for foot maintenanc­e, says Brehovsky. “People come more regularly in the wintertime; they have more calluses, more foot issues and the nails are a little more brittle.” And it’s not just athletes and folks dealing with foot ailments who can benefit from a visit to the podiatry clinic: Brehovsky sees everyone from teachers to people who suffer from back pain due to abnormal gait.

I walked out of the appointmen­t with a spring in my step, eager to apply a fresh coat of polish on my carefully tended-to feet. And as dreadful as the prospect of an extended winter may be, the thought of sliding my baby-soft feet into a pair of fuzzy socks will tide me over until the snow melts.

 ?? PEXELS ?? Very few people will see your toes during the winter, but that's the joy of a March pedicure — it's just for you.
PEXELS Very few people will see your toes during the winter, but that's the joy of a March pedicure — it's just for you.

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