Fish spas have become a fad in the last decade. However, let’s face it – the idea is not exactly genius. Basically, a fish foot spa or fish pedicure involves patrons dipping their feet in a tub filled with small fish called Garra rufa, also known as ‘doctor fish’. These small fish then nibble the dead skin particles from your feet. They also remove calluses from the bottom of the feet, hence those tootsies look fresh and pretty. But you better watch out before trying out this weird beauty treatment.
The idea of tiny fish eating away the dead skin from your feet might sound ‘interesting’, but they are also capable of spreading diseases. If you do not believe, ask Victoria Curthoys, who had to get all toes of one of her feet amputated after getting a fish spa pedicure treatment in Thailand.
While on a holiday in Thailand, she contracted an infection while getting a fish spa treatment done. A few years ago, she had an infection on her big toe after being cut by glass, which led to half of her toe being cut by the doctors to prevent infection. In 2010, she then travelled to Thailand for a holiday where she went for the popular fish spa but paid in getting her toes cut off.
The tank she put her feet in contained a waterborne disease only found in Thailand. Fever and sickness took over as she ended up getting another bone infection in her big toe. By the time the doctors could figure out what was wrong with her, her toe bone had been fully eaten away.
In 2012, when her big toe was amputated, the pressure on her small toes increased when she walked – they developed sores and callouses. Her second toe too, had to be removed.
“This time, the doctors took the second toe and left me with three of them. I was healthy for another two years, I thought I was very lucky to still have my foot and carried on with my life. But then I started to get sick again.” she said.
Victoria started feeling sick again, and two years later, doctors’ reports showed another raging infection. By November 2016 her third and fourth toes were gone too. The pressure then increased on her smallest toe which later was also discovered to have an infection, so the last toe was finally taken off in November 2017.
“Last year I noticed my small toe wasn’t looking very happy and there was some liquid on my sock, but I couldn’t see any cuts. After a few blood samples and more X-rays, they discovered another bone infection, so they finally took the last toe in November 2017,” she said.