Woman's Pedicure Infection Almost Results in Leg Amputation


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Sorry to horrify you, my perfectly polished friends, but one incredibly unlucky woman in North Carolina almost had her leg amputated after getting an infection from a pedicure. Tracy Lynn Martinez, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, took to Facebook Friday to share her experience in a post that has since gone viral.

The (Gory) Details

“I just wanted to share my story to save someone from going [through] what I’m going through, or even death,” she wrote, before detailing the pedicure she received from a local salon in June. According to Martinez, the day after her appointment, she began have chills, nausea, and vomiting, and her leg started swelling to the point where it threw her off balance.

After rushing to the ER, Martinez says she developed a strep infection allegedly caused by “the scrapes on the outside of my heel from the callus cutter” that was used to remove rough patches from the heel during a pedicure. She also included 12 alarming, not-for-the-queasy photos of her leg in the Facebook post, detailing the infection’s progress throughout treatment at the hospital.

Why It Happened

“When the skin is compromised even a bit—like with a minor scrape—it is very easy for bacteria to creep in and wreak havoc,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Yale University, who has not treated Martinez. “I never let them use instruments on me when I get a pedicure for this very reason; it’s too risky.”

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Thankfully, doctors were able to save Martinez’s leg, though she notes that she’ll now deal with life-long effects from the infection. “I am still recovering after a 2 week stay at the hospital, [and] I will be on meds for the next 3 months,” she continues in her post, adding that she’ll also have to wear “compression stockings on this leg for life” to protect it from another infection.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that every single pedicure you get is an automatic risk for getting your leg amputated, but it does increase your chances of infection if your technician uses anything abrasive on your skin (like cuticle cutters). To be safe, do a DIY pedicure at home, and save the nail salons for polish changes only.

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