Parkinson’s UK, the largest UK charity devoted to curing and caring for people affected by Parkinson’s, has a theme for this year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week: “In My Shoes”. It’s about explaining what it’s like to have Parkinson’s, and it’s about shoes. Because shoes are easier to illustrate.
Being female, I do, of course, have lots of shoes. Being me, very few of them go with dresses.
I’ve always had a slightly unconventional attitude to shoes, especially to shopping for them. This is largely explained by the size of my feet, which are large. Well, they are a UK 9 (European 43), or one size larger than the majority of High Street shoe retailers tend to make or stock. This is quite frustrating. My feet are narrow, too, which makes mens’ shoes a less viable option, although styles that lace low on the foot (walking boot styles) are quite good.
Damn. Parkinson’s takes away the fine motor control required to tie laces.
But at the moment, the drugs go some way to restore that fine motor control. I can tie laces – just a little slower than I might like. Even so, velcro is a favoured option when buying new shoes.
Like the ones in the picture.
But velcro isn’t really as good as laces. You can’t pull it as tight (useful for uneven ground. And hills. I like hills*). I’m not convinced that it’s as secure. But it’s okay for tarmac and office work. And it works pretty well on a bicycle.
Actually, velcro is better on a bicycle. No risk of your laces catching on the pedals or – horrors! – in the chain.
*Qualification: I like hills on foot (and in paintings). I prefer no hills (or failing that, small ones) on a bicycle.
I like these shoes (which are ladies shoes; they’re made by Hotter, a British company who emphasise comfort but have largely avoided the “old lady shoe” trap associated with the term “comfortable shoes”. And they make 9s! In everything! Including shoes that are waaaay too girly for me to wear to anything but a wedding). These shoes are easy to put on and take off and they’re comfortable in between. I’ve managed to convince myself that they’re just about smart enough for office wear, and they’re great for a lunchtime bike ride. And the leather is soft enough on the top that my dystonic toes don’t give themselves blisters.
Oh, yes. Dystonia. Another of Parkinson’s little oddities.
I’ve written about dystonia before. (You’ll find all the relevant posts here.) It essentially means that my toes distort themselves by variously curling up, or sticking up, or both. What’s new is that some shoes (not these ones) end up rubbing on the top surface of the second toe on my left foot, and recently it’s been bad enough to generate a blister. A plaster will readily prevent the injury, but it is still jolly annoying, especially if I forget to apply the preventative plaster.