Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's


A Visit to the Skeleto-Muscular Podiatrist

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.

Temporary orthotic insoles

Temporary orthotic insoles

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.


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Keep on keeping on

Last week was a busy one. On Monday, I went to see my consultant; on Thursday, I visited the skeleto-muscular podiatrist.

My consultant seemed happy with the way things were going and the way in which I have reacted to Rasagiline. I have another appointment in six months time; previously, he was seeing me every four months. I don’t think it’s due to an NHS cutback…

Thursday’s appointment was a result of my physiotherapist’s having noticed a twist in my gait and stance. She told me to ask my GP for a referral to Orthotics; my GP insisted that I see the podiatrist associated with the local practice first. She wasn’t entirely sure whether I needed orthotic assistance, but she referred me anyway. I delayed the appointment so that I could see if the newly prescribed Rasagiline would have any effect on the problem. It didn’t seem to.

I’ll write about the podiatry appointment in a separate post.

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Helen Mirren Speaks Out

Helen MirrenActress Helen Mirren has raised her head above the parapet and is asking for support and understanding for people with Parkinson’s. She’s interested because a long term friend of hers has the condition.

She talks about her views in this Guardian article.

She’s hoping for a change in attitudes similar to that surrounding autism:

“You know, 20 years ago autism was this weird, spooky, terrifying thing and now it’s much, much better understood. It’s the same with Parkinson’s.”

I wonder if anybody’s considered a big name feature film along the lines of Rain Man (1988)? I imagine that Helen might consider a role…