Can I service a diabetic client with discolored toenails?


I have a male client who is diabetic. I know you aren’t supposed to clip a diabetic’s nails but just file and buff lightly and rub lotion on his feet instead of massage. But on his feet his two big toenails were thick and hard and dark brown and yellow in some spots. It wasn’t slimy looking like a nail fungus but just yellowish and hard. The rest were normal looking. What could it be? Should I refuse to rebook him and recommend he see a podiatrist?


This is an important question. When in doubt, do not book him and always refer to a medical professional. A dermatologist or podiatrist would be the ideal medical professional to refer to. As a nail technician, you are not expected to know everything and you would be doing your client a big favor by expressing your concern and suggesting that he see a health care professional.  

— Dana Stern, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nails. She works in private practice in New York City

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