Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Running with Parkinson’s


Hi-Tech Running Shoes with Lock Laces

My running shoes

I have to say right now that I’m a rubbish runner. Always was, always will be (I usually say that it’s because my legs are too long and I’m not coordinated enough*). But it’s a cheap way of trying to get fit, and, as a bonus, there’s no bulky equipment to clog up your home. All you really need is a half decent pair of shoes and somewhere out of doors to run.

And a reason to run.

I’ve got one of those. I feel more inclined to run now than I ever have before (I’ve tried ‘running’ as an activity at least twice in the past, but it never lasted long). But I feel very disinclined to ‘go for a run’ when I could be doing something more interesting or more useful instead. So I’m trying to fit it in to my day by letting the kids use their scooters and running after them (only works when it’s not wet; no scooters on wet pavements), and by running home after dropping the kids off (only works when it’s not icy, but we’re having mild weather at the moment, so I don’t have that excuse now) – and, of course, back again. It’s not far – a brisk five minute walk – but I’m not up to running all the way yet. More practice, I suppose.


The point is that, while I can run (inefficiently, inelegantly, and quite slowly, but that’s how I’ve always run) with Parkinson’s at present, there are a couple of things that I have noticed.

One of them is positive: when I’m running, my arms do that pumping thing – not the swing that happens when you walk (and which I have lost in my left arm), but a more vigorous action.  And it works with both arms. Apparently this is because running is a different mode to walking and is governed differently by the brain.

The other is a bit more worrying. Last week, while running home from school in my ‘normal’ boots (a pair of lightweight walking boots – yes, I do have running shoes, but they are not waterproof and it was wet and I probably forgot about them anyhow), the toes on the outside of my left foot encountered a strange popping sensation. It felt a bit like standing on bubblewrap. It was puzzling, distracting, and decidedly uncomfortable. I thought it might be the boots – they’re relatively new, and a bit more generous in the toe region than some shoes I own – and resolved to try a different pair of shoes. As it happens, the problem only seemed to occur with the new boots. Blame the boots, I thought, trying very hard not to write off £40 worth of footwear. Maybe I need a thicker insole? Maybe I shouldn’t run in them?

Maybe both. But I think I know what the problem is, and it’s nothing to do with the boots. It’s my toes, curling up inside the boots, making the impact jolly uncomfortable. I’m worried that I could break my toes.


*Alternatively, it has been suggested to me that my poor running may be due to a slight tendency towards being knock-kneed. I don’t think that this is anything to do with Parkinson’s. It also doesn’t cause me any trouble. However, I suspect that the true reason for my poor running is that I’m not very interested in running!


4 thoughts on “Running with Parkinson’s

  1. Those boots? I’m starting to think that there is an inherent problem in attempting to run in them; they have a rather stiff sole. Great for walking, less so for running – or, indeed, for some of the physiotherapy exercises that I am being encouraged to do.

    Having said that, I should probably add that I’m getting the ‘popping’ feeling in most shoes now, including my running shoes (which are cheap running shoes and dreadfully old, but even so they were, once upon a time, designed to be run in).

  2. My husband has Parkinson’s as well and his toes curl under when he runs. He went to a sports therapist with a specialty in orthopedics. She created orthotics that are like a bar in the front of his shoes that give his toes something to curl around. Also, he found that Newton running shoes work best because they force you on your toes. And . . . he gets botox injections in his feet. But it’s all worth it for him to be able to run. It’s the one thing he can do somewhat normally and he always feels better afterwards.

    • Thanks for that, Wendy. I was seeing a podiatrist who expressed reluctance to give me a similar orthotic – she thought it would hamper my movement in other ways. The current idea is to increase medication until the dystonia goes away, which it hasn’t done yet. Thing is, how far do you go when pretty much everything else is under control anyway?

      Must make time to speak to my Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist.

  3. Hey, I enjoyed the read. I can recommend seeing a specialist trainer company who can watch you run on a treadmill and recommend the best trainers for you. I did it and I found I over pronate, so I bought Adidas Supernova Sequence 4’s. Hope this helps. If you get a chance check out my running blog here 🙂 thank you

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