Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Podiatric Solutions for Dystonic Feet


Today, I went back to see the podiatrist to ask her about the dystonic toe-curling that I have been experiencing.

I took with me copies of the two Parkinson’s UK information sheets that I mentioned before (dystonia and feet). She seemed to find them quite interesting; in fact, she asked if she could keep them. Of course, I said yes (I’d printed them specifically for the appointment).

However, she didn’t prescribe a toe prop or a toe splint. These devices are both made of silicon and are used to support or straighten the toes.  My podiatrist told me that she was reluctant to give me either of these, as I am still relatively young and fit, and she wanted to try to correct my problem rather than just ease it (but she’s reserving toe props for a second attempt).

Orthotic insoles with metatarsal dome

Instead, she gave me a pair of 3/4 length insoles with a metatarsal dome. This dome, which sits just behind the ball of my foot, is intended to encourage my toes to spread out. It feels very strange. I’m to wear them (both feet) for short periods initially, and build up the time I’m using them until I’m wearing them pretty much all day.


7 thoughts on “Podiatric Solutions for Dystonic Feet

  1. Hmm. As noted in the next post along, I’m not sure that these insoles are having the intended effect. What seems to be happening is that my toes curl up mid air and so are nicely clawed for impact. The insoles only exert their influence when my feet are on the ground and – well, my feet aren’t playing whatever game is supposed to be going on.

    The fact that these insoles are – as a result of being 3/4 length – in addition to whatever is already in the shoe makes for an extra complication: in some shoes, they are either unbearably tight or my feet just won’t fit in; in others, they seem to tip my feet forwards and my toes get a bit cramped in the end of the shoe, thus causing an effect not dissimilar to the one they are supposed to alleviate. In both feet.

    • Your toe problem sounds like mine. I have seen five neurologists, two podiatrists, and a couple of physical therapists and I still don’t think I am being properly diagnosed. In any case, I was curious to hear a status update on your situation. If improved, what do you attribute it to? Thank you!

      • Hi, Darla.
        The problem seems to be everso slightly better than it was, but it’s by no means fixed. I’m attributing the small improvement to drugs – specifically, ropinirole – and still have hopes that an increase in my dosage will do away with the dystonia all together. In fact, I increased my dosage only yesterday. My Parkinson’s Nurse was fairly certain that (a) the problem is dystonia caused by Parkinson’s and (b) the correct dosage of ropinirole would make it go away.

        You say that you don’t think you have the correct diagnosis. I’m a little curious as to what the medical profession variously think might be wrong. Have you had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s?

      • Thank you for such a prompt response! 🙂 I am glad to hear you are at least showing some improvement, albeit small. As for me: Podiatrist said it was due to arthritis in my toes and performed surgery. Didn’t fix the problem. Neuro #1: Idiopathic Dystonia. Neuro #2: Just agreed with that dx w/o seeing/conducting any tests and was ready to start Botox treatments. The next three Neuros were from Mayo Clinic: #1 said while some things pointed to dystonia, somet things pointed away. #2 & #3 initially said Secondary Dystonia caused by multilobular cluster of cysts in the basal ganglia area of my brain. This dx was later dismissed, saying if that WAS the cause I should have had symptoms sooner in life (this started when I was 46). They then left the dx as Dystonia and also ruled out MS and Parkinson’s.

        I question this because I recently did a 2-week trial of a device called a Walk-aide. It improved my ankle function to the point I no longer need a drop foot brace. Theory is it “woke up” some muscles. This combined with the fact I can sometimes control it with slow, methodic movements, makes me question the need to try a podiatrist again.

        So challenging! Just an FYI–something that helped me a little, too, was a custom device made of Pedi-plast. It formed sort of a “bridge” for my toes to curl over when I walked. Maybe it is something that might help you. 🙂

  2. I think that is a toe prop. It’s certainly something that has been suggested. How does it affect your foot flexibility?

    It must be very frustrating not to have a diagnosis. Still, at least they’ve ruled out some of the more troublesome possibililties.

    I have arthritis in my left foot (the dystonic one), too – osteoarthritis, probably due to an old injury. I didn’t know that that was what it was (it was just a funny bump that I’d had for ages) until the podiatrist told me. I very much doubt that it has caused this dystonia (which is very recent) – although it may be making it worse.

  3. Pingback: Podiatry Again: Custom Insoles… | Blogging with Parkinson's

  4. I also have involuntary toe curling and have been treated with Botox without success. Ropinirole made me pass out so it was discontinued. Just recently I tried making a toe prop to see if it helps with the cramping and so far I feel it has helped. I would be interested to hear more about the toe prop you were able to acquire made of Pedi-plast. It is difficult enough dealing with the Parkinson’s but the dystonia makes it very difficult to stand and does interfere with walking.

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