by Elisa Freeling

Motherhood is rough on women’s bodies, not least on the (literally) lowly foot. During my pregnancies I watched in dismay as my feet swelled, each morphing into something resembling the Monty Python foot. Even when your feet stop bearing the extra weight of your carried baby and then toddler, there are the 700 times they stomp on your toes—or is that just my kids?

My point is this: mums surely need more than the gentle strokes of a standard pedicure, which is why I was intrigued by the sound of a ‘medical pedicure’, offered at the London clinics of Margaret Dabbs. I figure my feet are in dire need of professional help, so I happily hobbled down to the Space NK in Notting Hill to check it out.

The major difference between a pedicure and a medi pedi is that, with the latter, your visit is with an actual podiatrist. Naturally this means a medi pedi is going to cost rather more, but this may be worth it, depending on your foot needs.

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The session—‘a fusion of health and aesthetics’, as my lovely podiatrist put it—lasts 45 minutes, and begins with cleaning the feet, trimming the nails and getting them to an appealing shape with a crystal file. My favourite bit followed, which involved a whirring machine that was apparently highly effective in the removal of dead skin. As I sipped my cappuccino, my feet were exfoliated, nails buffed and each foot wholly rehydrated. (Margaret Dabbs products are used at several stages of the treatment and may be purchased for use in your home regimen.)

On the more medical side, the session also includes assessing the skin health, checking for corns, calluses, verrucas—which, should you require it, are surgically removed. Additionally, they can do a biomechanical check (gait analysis) and nail surgery for ingrown toenails. The clinic also offers reflexology, laser treatment for fungal nails and a range of beauty treatments.

A luxury version of the medi pedi adds, among other bits, a foot and lower-leg massage. You can also get a simultaneous manicure, which I indulged in, and it felt like a victory of multitasking.

I personally had other foot issues (of which I will spare you the details); I came away with some extra advice and recommended foot-care protocol, plus feet that will not frighten small children in the upcoming season of sandals.

So, how much will all this set you back? The standard Margaret Dabbs medical pedicure costs £80, which, if you put together the cost of a regular pedi and a visit to a podiatrist, is actually not bad. And while it’s not cheap, at least you know the medi pedi is good for your sole.

The Margaret Dabbs clinic in Notting Hill is within the Space NK in Westbourne Grove, and there are other sites in Liberty and New Cavendish Street. See the Margaret Dabs website for more info.

Elisa Freeling
Author

Elisa moved to London a decade ago from San Francisco, where, in pre-children days, she was the managing editor at Sierra magazine. She lived in Brook Green, Notting Hill and Chiswick before settling in Northfields, where she lives with her book-loving daughter, architecture-loving son, and thickly moustachioed husband.

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