Woman Is Left Floundering After Fucked “Fish Pedicure” Ruins Her Toenails

Ah, yes!  A classic tale!  Young Woman asks Greedy Fish to help her get the perfect pair of feet, such that she may walk, run, and play all day in the sun.  The deal is struck, but things go horribly awry because there is a catch – oh honey, there’s always a catch.

Ariel, you FOOL!

If you’re lucky, the thing you catch is the fish, and the story ends with a nice dinner.  But if your idea of getting the perfect feet is going to a spa for a Fish Pedicure – that thing where you dunk your feet into a tank full of tiny fish who eat your dead flesh for dinner instead – it’s more likely you may catch a Staph Infection. 

Or, as in the case of one 20-something-year-old woman, reported by Dr. Shari R. Lipner in this week’s JAMA Dermatology, you might catch something called Onychomadesis.

No, Onychomadesis is not the name of the Ancient Egyptian god of anchovies.  It is a condition where, in very basic terms, your toenails stop growing and become detached from the skin underneath.  Usually, this condition is associated with other serious illnesses, autoimmune diseases, or hereditary causes. 

“I said TIN not BOX! I want my sarcophagus to be a TIN CAN!”

Which is why when Dr. Lipner’s patient rocked up to her office with a six-month history of broken potato chips where her toenails should have been, Lipner did us all a favour and looked into the situation.

Fish pedicures, like everything else we’re secretly into these days, were a pretty big deal about 10 years ago.  They are performed using Garra rufa or Doctor Fish which are native to the waters of the Mediterranean.  There, the Turkish town of Kangal was very popular with tourists suffering with psoriasis because it was said that the resident Garra rufa population were in the habit of feeding on psoriatic skin but left behind healthy skin.

And yeah, eventually this was proved in clinical trials, but it never accounted for the horrible hygiene surrounding this practice.  For one thing, in the context of a spa it’s not super convenient to change the water in the fish tanks between treatments, so you’re probably putting your feet in someone else’s foot water.  And that is a great way to make a tasty bowl of feet broth, I agree, but if your aim is cleanliness then the arrangement is mucho less than bueno.

Fish Soup For The Feet Soles

Then there’s the matter of the fish themselves, who aren’t exactly brushing their teeth between tearing into someone else and then tearing into you.  Which is yuck, but also please take a second to imagine spa personnel painstakingly wrestling with many tiny fish, desperately trying to get their mouths open and cleaned in time for your 11:15am appointment. 

(Oh man they’d have microscopic toothbrushes, and all the fish would have cute names, but refuse to comply unless you ask them nicely and call them by their proper title, since they’re doctor fish.  So you’d be sitting in the waiting room and just hear someone behind the curtain yell, “Please, for goodness sake Dr. Nibblesworth!  What a wild world that’d be.)

Alas, that is not the case, which means the entire practice of fish pedicures is more likely hazardous to one’s health than helpful, with the very real potential of transmitting even HIV and Hepatitis.  Look, I don’t know about you, but if I absolutely have to catch an STI from a fish, that fish better fuck me first.  And call me the next day.  I am not making that mistake twice.


In the case of Dr. Lipner’s toenail shedding patient though, the prognosis is good and she will make a full recovery, growing a full set of healthy nails just as soon as the crinkle cut cornflakes she’s got now fall out completely.

So if you ever notice a deterioration in the health of your toenails, make haste in seeing your physician.  Just as long as your physician is not a fish.