In most podiatry clinics, instruments are used every day. When it comes to whether single use or reusable is best, the two categories are often seen as mutually exclusive

As a manufacturer of both reusable and single-use instrumentation, at Bailey we recognise this often comes down to a personal choice based on experience of single use and working pressures. Managing a high daily caseload has not got any easier with the required precautions in relation to PPE for each treatment.

There are pros and cons to both single use and reusable. The argument of being more environmentally friendly is given to us for both single-use and reusable instruments. Podiatrists who dislike single-use packs tell us they use autoclaves because they don’t like the idea of throwing instruments away after only using them once. The podiatrists who prefer single use argue against autoclaves, which are manufactured from steel, plastic and rubber, must use processed water, are plugged into the National Grid all day and need a technician in a diesel van to come round and service it once or twice a year. This is why, at Bailey, we do not market one option over another but give you the flexibility to devise your own solution.

Hybrid systems

Podiatrists using reusable instruments have their own personally selected range and prefer to decontaminate and sterilise in clinic. To effectively decontaminate, we recommend the use of Endozime, a low foaming enzymatic cleaner that can be used manually or in ultrasonic cleaners. Instruments with moving parts need lubrication. Bailey supply Premixslip, a steam penetrable lubricant that helps improve the longevity of instruments.

Some clinics equipped with autoclaves run a ‘hybrid’ system of reusable and single-use instruments. The single-use instruments are used in nursing/residential homes, for home visits and infrequent nail surgery procedures. Burs are notoriously difficult to clean and decontaminate, and easily misplaced. Our susol® single-use burs are designed and shaped in the same way as our reusable ones.

Featherlight design

In an increasing number of clinics, podiatrists have chosen to use single-use instruments only:

  • Every set is guaranteed sterile, often used as a unique selling point by those clinics
  • No need for an autoclave, so there is a space saving
  • No autoclave, so no capital spend or contract – a reason many newly
  • qualified podiatrists opt for single use
  • No need for two sinks in the clinic or ultrasonic cleaners.


Many NHS trusts have moved to single-use instruments as it is cheaper than Sterile Services provision. In these cases, podiatrists do not have to decontaminate instruments or repack them, so more time is spent with the patient. Trusts with large rural areas often have single-use instruments as a backup in case of inclement weather when Sterile Services cannot deliver.

Bailey has spent a lot of time and resources in designing its susol® single-use podiatry range. The advantage of designing for single use is that you don’t have to design for durability. This means less steel, less weight and sharper cutting jaws. The tangible ergonomic benefits of the susol® nipper mean standardisation is never an issue. During the development of the patented nipper, we demonstrated a reduction in the onset of repetitive strain injuries of the wrist and arm in podiatry clinics.

So, whatever decision you make about your stock of instruments, Bailey is here to help with a wide selection and friendly service.