How to do a home pedicure when you’re not very flexible August 23 2021

smooth, soft looking feet resting on a wooden balcony


There’s something wonderfully pampering, relaxing and uplifting about a pedicure. It’s also a much-underrated way to help keep your feet healthy and sandal ready.

But while you’ve probably seen dozens of articles on how to do a home or DIY pedicure, it’s not so easy if you’re pregnant, carrying excess weight or not as flexible as you used to be.

Here are our tips to help keep your feet in great shape, without the cost of a professional pedicure or an osteopath to help recover from all the bending and twisting.

You mind find it helpful to use an aid, such as a Long Handled Nail File or Clippers. To help, we’ve included the names in bold that we used in online searches. 

1. Prepare your space

woman resting her foot on a poof to reach it

Find somewhere comfy to sit with a sturdy surface in front of you, something like a coffee table or heavy pouf that won’t move. You can use this to rest your foot against, to help bring it closer to you.

It’s also a good idea to practise reaching towards your foot, to make sure you can do it without too much discomfort. Increase the distance you stretch gradually, repeating the motion – this should help you to reach a little further each time.  

pregnant woman sat on sofa reaching one foot to do a home pedicure

If you’re pregnant, you may want to adopt more of a cross legged style sitting position to bring each foot closer to you.

Lay out plenty of towels to protect your carpet and surfaces from water drips and toenail clippings. 


2. Smooth away rough skin

    wooden long handled foot fileAs we get older the sweat glands on our feet become less active, causing skin to become drier. Before you wet your feet, use a foot file to smooth away the worst of the rough skin on heels and callouses. You’ll be giving them another file later on, so don’t worry if there’s still room for improvement.

    To help, search online for stores selling a Long Handle Hard Skin Remover, Long Handle Pumice Stone, Long Handle Foot File or Long Reach Callus Remover.


    3. Soak your feet

    feet soaking in a bowl of water

    Possibly the most pleasurable and easiest step of the whole home pedicure. Fill a large basin or bowl up to your ankles with warm water. Add some skin-softening bath or Epsom salts – a perfect choice if you’ve sore feet or your dogs are barking (Ellie loves a bit of Cockney rhyming slang – in this case it means that your feet are hurting and comes from ‘dog’s meat = feet’).

    Try adding some rounded pebbles to the water, then roll them round with the soles of your feet to hit some of those reflexology points for a feel-good mini massage.

    Enjoy the still and calm for as long as possible, at least 5 minutes, but 10-15 is even better. 


    4. Towel dry

    If possible, leave one foot in the water to keep softening while you towel dry the other.

    Remember to dry in between your toes as it helps to keep your toes free from infections such as athlete’s foot.

    A Long Handle Toe Washer and Long Handle Toe Towel may help here. 


    5. Remove any old polish

    If you already have polish on your nails, this is the time to remove it. Soak some cotton pads in nail polish remover, wrap around your toes to start softening the polish, before tackling each toe one by one.

    To reach, use the same method you used to apply the polish. If this isn’t possible, peg a cotton pad soaked with nail polish remover to something long, such as a Long Handled Foot and Toe Wash. 


    6. Shape your nails and push back cuticles

    Your feet and nails should be feeling softened now, and ready for you to trim your toenails and push back your cuticles.  

    jokey image of a woman with disc grinder trying to trim her toenails

    If your nails have become thick and hard, which tends to happen naturally over time, apply some petroleum jelly to the nail and surrounding skin, this should help to soften them in readiness for trimming and pushing back.

    Trimming difficult to reach toenails is a challenge, especially if they’ve become thicker and harder. It can be tempting to just leave them. But don’t. Long toenails can press against the ends of your shoes, creating a constant pressure that can leave toes and feet sore and make walking uncomfortable.    

    toenails being clipped

    Toenails should be trimmed in an almost straight line (rather than rounded like fingernails) to help avoid them becoming ingrown. Then gently push back cuticles with an Orange Stick or metal Cuticle Pusher.

    If you can’t reach your feet to trim your toes, look out for Long Handled Toenail Scissors, Long Reach and Long Handle Clippers and Files, and even Electric Long Reach Nail Trimmers which may help.


    7. Soften and smooth

    heel being smoothed with a pumice stone

    With your nails trimmed and cuticles pushed back, you’re ready to smooth away a bit more of any remaining hard or rough skin.

    Don’t be overly vigorous on cracked skin or tender areas such as bunions or corns. For this you can use a Pumice Stone or for a bit less bending, a Long Handled Foot File


    8. Moisturise

    foot cream being applied

    Apply a generous smoothing of an intense moisturising cream, then if you’ve time to break your home pedicure over two days, pop on some Cotton Moisturising Socks and leave overnight to allow your newly smoothed feet to absorb the moisture.

    Your toes and feet should now be looking and feeling soft, shapely and ready to go barefoot or show off in your favourite sandals. 


    9. Paint

    man painting woman's toenails with a house painting brushIf you’d like to add some colour, now’s the time. Ideally get help for this bit. A partner, child or friend could all help – painting is wonderfully unisex too. Few of us love our feet, but at least yours will now be at their softest, smoothest, most fragrant and presentable, so it’s really not a big ask. 

    If you can’t find someone else, try sitting back with your foot pressed up against something, such as a low table, and taking your time, reach to your toes.

    It’s important to remember, compared with your fingernails, your toes are further from people’s eye line, so you don’t need to worry too much about being perfect when applying colour. A good dot in the centre going close if not exactly to the edges creates a pleasing effect even if you’ll never become a foot model with it.

    There are also some excellent alternatives to polish, such as coloured Toenail Wraps (also called Toe Nail Polish Strips), which may be easier and less messy to apply.


    And that’s it.

    toes with smiley faces drawn on them

    You should now have sandal-ready, dare-to-bare feet, no matter how flexible, curvaceous or pregnant you are.

    lovely looking feet with bright blue sea in the background
    For more information on how to look after your feet, or make them happy with footwear that's both stylish and comfortable, give us a call. We're all qualified shoe fitters who know our stock and are happy to help. 
    Ellie Dickins Shoes
    97 High Street, Hungerford, RG17 0NB
    Tel: 01488 686480