Exploring Common Foot Issues in Parkinson's Disease

Exploring Common Foot Issues in Parkinson's Disease

Our feet are essential for walking because they bear the full weight of our bodies. It is critical to seek advice on foot concerns since if left untreated, they can worsen, restrict mobility, and increase the risk of falling.

Naturally, if you have Parkinson's disease, you may experience the same concerns as the general population, such as verrucae, corns, and bunions. However, because to your gait and postural concerns, as well as your cramp, you may be more susceptible to a variety of foot problems. Combining these can make Parkinson's walking more difficult.

Leaning forward to care for your feet may also make it more difficult to use nail scissors or toe nail clippers efficiently.

What are the most common foot problems associated with Parkinson's disease, and how are they managed?

Gait difficulties.

Many Parkinson's patients report a decrease in their posture, gait, balance, or mobility.

During 'normal' walking, the heel makes first contact with the ground, followed by the toes as the foot lifts off the ground again. However, Parkinson's disease causes shorter strides and maybe increased ankle rigidity, resulting in a more flat-footed gait. This may produce a shuffling gait, resulting in foot, limb, and knee pain because it fails to appropriately absorb the impact of the foot as it touches the ground.

Because of ankle rigidity and difficulties bending the foot upwards, some Parkinson's patients find that they must walk on their toes, causing their feet to point downward. 'Toe-walking' increases strain on the toes and may affect balance and mobility.

If the calf muscles are tight or constricted, the foot may have a more difficult time absorbing the impact of walking on the ground. This can cause pressure concerns, such as calluses on the soles of the feet.

Your podiatrist may offer stretching exercises to release your muscles and relieve stiffness, often in combination with a physiotherapist. He or she can also advise you on how to improve your gait, cease "toe-walking," and maintain a more consistent stride with your foot flexed for better heel-to-toe contact with the ground. A podiatrist might also recommend DrLuigi medical footwear that is specifically created to suit your foot and help distribute impact force throughout the entire foot. The muscles in your calves and feet will be able to operate properly, resulting in improved gait and mobility.

Toe curling and dystonia

Muscle cramps and dystonia are common conditions in the foot. The big toe occasionally shoots up (hyper-extension), the foot inverts at the ankle, and the toes usually curl into a claw-like configuration. This position, caused by calf muscle spasms, can be painfully uncomfortable and make it difficult to put feet into shoes. Shoes may rub the toes, causing pressure difficulties in areas of the foot that are not pressure-resistant.

Dystonia can also cause the Achilles tendon to tighten, resulting in 'toe walking' as the foot is dragged downwards.

Consult your doctor or a Parkinson's specialist nurse to see whether changing your medication or dosage would assist with your dystonia.

Your podiatrist will be able to offer techniques to prevent toe curling, such as using toe splints. Walking is much simpler with silicone toes. A podiatrist can also create a mold out of silicone rubber that quickly sets and forms a case around the toe to help keep it straight. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

Obesity (Oedema)

The accumulation of too much fluid in the tissues produces swelling in the feet. If you have bradykinesia, which causes delayed or limited movement, or if you spend a lot of time sitting still, you are more prone to develop this condition. If mobility is limited, veins may become clogged, and fluid may seep out and collect in the feet and ankles because blood circulation is dependent on the muscles of the legs contracting and rerouting blood to the heart. We term this oedema.

Swelling usually worsens during the day and improves at night. Several times a day, lie flat with your legs lifted to ease it. You should also lift your legs while sitting. Your doctor might recommend a diuretic.

If your feet or ankles are swollen, see your doctor to rule out other possible causes, such as heart or renal illness or deep vein thrombosis.

A podiatrist or physiotherapist may aid with exercises to prevent fluid buildup in the legs, such as ankle rotation. A podiatrist can also recommend suitable types of footwear, such as shoes that can be changed throughout the day if your feet swell, as oedema can make wearing shoes difficult or uncomfortable. Both therapists can show your caregiver how to give you a mild leg or foot massage to improve blood flow.

Who can help?

A podiatrist, often known as a chiropodist, specializes in the foot and the effects of walking on other joints. Podiatry, or the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, is renowned worldwide. There is no distinction between podiatry and chiropody; the latter is simply a term used only in a few countries.

Podiatrists often work in the following areas:

Biomechanics is the study of how the feet and body interact (often in collaboration with a physiotherapist), how our walking style affects other joints, how to treat issues like poor gait with exercises or specialized foot devices such as insole supports, and how to advise on mobility and fall prevention.

Advice on how to choose the correct shoes, keep your feet healthy, and deal with minor ailments like corns, bunions, and ingrown toe nails. A podiatrist can show family members and caregivers how to properly care for their feet. If you have tremors or other movement problems, he or she can teach you how to use instruments appropriately, such as nail clippers.

Various injuries, ulcers, and infected sores in the foot and lower limbs are monitored and treated.

Depending on where you live and your specific requirements, you may be sent to a physiotherapist for foot-related mobility concerns and fall prevention. To discover more, visit physiotherapy.

What should I expect from a podiatrist appointment?

Because the podiatrist may need to use sharp tools, it is best to plan sessions around the time of day when you are least likely to shiver or exhibit other involuntary movements. Furthermore, it can be beneficial for your caregiver to attend the initial visit with you so that they can learn how to help you in between meetings.

Depending on where you live, the initial appointment could last up to 30 minutes. Additional examination and therapy sessions typically run between 20 and 30 minutes.

Because Parkinson's disease and other medical problems can affect your feet, the podiatrist will require a comprehensive medical history. You should bring a list of your prescriptions, as they will need to know what you are taking.

They will assess the health of your nerves, circulation, skin, and foot nails. They will also examine how you walk, as well as the positioning and motion of your feet (gait analysis).

The podiatrist may next propose a treatment plan, which may involve addressing any acute difficulties, arranging follow-up consultations, and performing daily maintenance like as exercising, clipping nails, wearing DrLuigi medical footwear, and applying lotion.
Back to blog

Featured collection