Feet carry the body’s entire weight and provide an important function: walking. It is therefore vital to seek advice on foot problems as, if left untreated, they may become painful, reduce mobility and falls could become more likely.
Those with Parkinson’s may be particularly susceptible to certain foot problems and may also find it harder to care for their feet – leaning over to cut toe nails for example or safely using nail scissors. The following outlines some of the problems that may arise:
- Gait – in ‘normal’ walking the heel strikes the ground first and the toes are the last point of contact as the foot lifts from the ground again. But in Parkinson’s a more flat-footed style of Gait tends to occur as stride length is shortened and the ankles are more rigid. This can lead to a shuffling walk which poorly absorbs the impact of the foot making contact with the ground, potentially resulting in foot, leg and knee pain. It can also make balance and mobility more difficult.
In contrast to flat-footedness, some people with Parkinson’s tend to walk on their toes as Rigidity in the ankle can also lead to the foot pointing downwards. This ‘toe-walking’ adds pressure on the toes and may impact mobility and balance.
A Podiatrist, usually working with a Physiotherapist, will be able to suggest exercises and strategies to correct poor gait or prevent ‘toe-walking’, as well as ways to ensure that the stride is more even and the foot more flexed to improve heel-to-toe contact with the ground.
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