Common symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as tremors, stiffness, postural changes, circulation damage, and loss of muscle control can leave you susceptible to developing problems with your feet. You may struggle to carry out basic foot care such as keeping your nails short, which a podiatrist can help you with, but they can also treat more serious foot problems. Here's an overview of three common foot problems associated with Parkinson's disease and how a podiatrist can help.
Poor muscle coordination and stiffness often leads to those with Parkinson's shuffling their feet rather than lifting them to take steps. Not taking full heel-to-toe steps can put stress on the joints and muscles in your feet and cause the arches to fall. Fallen arches can cause pain in your lower legs and leave you with aching feet after short periods of standing.
Your podiatrist can provide you with custom-made orthotic insoles, which lift your arches and provide support to your joints. They can be made to relieve areas of pressure by ensuring weight is distributed evenly across your feet. Your podiatrist will measure your feet and write a prescription for insoles that slip into your shoes. They will also follow up with you to ensure the insoles are providing enough support.
Dystonia is a common complication of Parkinson's disease and causes muscle spasms. When you experience muscle spasms in your feet, your toe muscles can tighten and curl inwards. Your Achilles tendon can also tighten and leave you with pain and stiffness in the affected foot.
Your podiatrist can show you how to loosen a tight Achilles tendon with simple foot exercises such as foot extensions and rotations. As your Achilles tendon loosens, you'll notice an improvement in the range of motion in the affect foot. They can also provide you with toe splints to correct curled toes. The splints tighten over your toes and hold them straight, which can encourage the muscles to loosen over time.
Swollen Feet & Ankles
Slowness of movement and shuffling can impact on your circulation and leave you with swollen feet and ankles. This occurs as your leg muscles don't contract as often when you're sedentary, but these contractions are required to propel the blood in your veins from your feet towards your heart. Without sufficient muscle contractions, fluid pools in your feet and ankles, and this can leave your feet feeling heavy and achy.
Your podiatrist can disperse the excess fluid by massaging your feet and ankles in the direction of your heart. They can also show a friend, family member or carer how to massage your feet to promote better circulation, which can ensure you don't experience a build-up of fluid in your feet between appointments with your podiatrist.
If you're concerned about the impact of Parkinson's disease on the health of your feet, schedule a foot exam through clinics like Morrison Podiatry Centre.Share