Electric Files are for Footcare, Too!


Nail techs who want to prevent repetitive-motion injuries should learn to incorporate electric files in their foot care services. These tips will help you add this component to your pedicures.

It doesn’t really matter what brand of electric file you use, as long as it is a professional electric file with a micro-motor in the hand piece. Any other machine will only add to the fatigue in your wrist and fingers. If you have to adjust the collet in order to use nail bits, the machine is not designed for use on bodies. Not only will it fatigue your hand, but the vibration can be very uncomfortable for your clients.

There are several procedures that can be completed with an electric file: shortening the nails, reducing calluses, thinning and beveling thick nails. Each procedure requires three things:

  • The proper bit

  • The proper speed of rotation

  • The proper grip of the handpiece

Choosing the bit requires thinking about the action the bit will need–if you are working on a very thick callus, for example, you might start with a coarser grit, then graduate down to medium and finish with a fine bit to refine the skin and leave it smooth.

Sometimes, when you are working on a particular area, the proper technique is to speed up the rotation of the bit. When you feel you want to press down in order to accomplish what you want, DON’T! Pressure is never the answer! Better to keep a light touch, and bump up the speed a bit and let the machine work.

Holding the handpiece as a pencil is the usual method, but for large areas like the bottoms of the feet, holding the handpiece as you would a paring knife and using your thumb to brace is a better idea. No matter what way you hold the handpiece, always brace some part of your hand against the client to give support and avoid slipping.

Don’t be afraid of using your electric file to help you with pedicures. Practice on a grapefruit or orange, to get used to working with larger surfaces….see if you can take the outer peel off without damaging the white under-peel.

Pressure is never the answer! Better to keep a light touch…

When you are confident you are in control of your handpiece, your clients will sense your confidence and won’t question your methods. One of the best parts of our jobs is that our clients trust us to take care of them. If you want to do that for many years, take steps, now, to prevent wear and tear on your joints–an electric file is your best friend.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.