Podiatrists are foot specialists – I once attended a college whose dual specialism was theology and podiatry (an odd combination). I did neither; I was doing IT (Information Technology, or, if you prefer, computing).
The podiatrist I saw last Thursday told me that I have an abductory twist in my gait. This means that my foot twists away from the midline of my body as my heel comes off the ground. Apparently both of my feet do this, and it is not uncommon. It is also not a very significant abnormality, or at least not at the level that I have it. When I asked if this was related to my Parkinsonian symptoms, she said she didn’t know.
Having thought this over, I’ve come to the conclusion that it probably isn’t due to Parkinson’s. I think that the ‘abductory twist’ was an underlying problem – one that has been present for a long time – and that its effects may have been exacerbated by Parkinson’s. Or possibly there isn’t a relationship at all; it may be that the pain I’ve been feeling along the outside of my foot is a muscular ache caused by the Parkinsonian curling of my toes, and absolutely nothing to do with the abductory twist.
I was given a pair of temporary insoles, which I’m to wear as much as possible – indoors and out. Constantly swapping the insoles between shoes is, it must be said, a little wearisome, but it is not as time-consuming as I had feared. I’m also impressed by quite how many of my shoes have removable insoles. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to remove most of them before – although I have often added extra insoles to improve the fit of various (unlaced) shoes and boots.
In 6 weeks (5 now, although I don’t have a confirmed appointment at present), I’m to return and possibly get a more permanent pair of insoles. The temporary pair are constructed from a standard insole with a wedge stuck to the base. I think that the ‘permanent’ ones are custom-made. I’m wondering if I can somehow manage to wangle multiple pairs – two would be good, just to avoid an extra step during the morning rush to school.
Incidentally, the podiatrist seemed to approve of my primary choice of footwear – when I went to see her, I was wearing a pair of lightweight walking boots (despite having driven the 8+ miles). While I do like the idea of all-terrain footwear (and I do wear them ‘off road’ quite a lot), the main reason that I choose this type of style for casual wear is because I have long, narrow feet and it’s difficult to find reasonably priced shoes to fit my feet (I’m a UK 9 / EU 43, larger than average for a woman. Most ladies shoes are available in sizes up to 8, but it is getting easier to buy 9s). The long lacing pattern allows me to buy mens’ shoes and pull them tight, giving a good fit. I like the boots because they seem less exclusively masculine, as well as giving extra support on steep climbs. I also wear trousers, usually jeans, a lot of the time (but I’m not sure how much of that preference is down to the uncomfortable/difficult-to-find shoes thing – the sort of shoes that are generally considered to ‘go’ with skirts tend to rely on a close fit to the foot), so the boots work well.
See ‘Return to the Skeleto-Muscular Podiatrist’ for the follow-up appointment.