“Life is better with a little sand in your toes.”
I love shoes. I have a whole collection of them. Being a physician standing on my feet all day long, I knew the importance of wearing sensible shoes and taking care of my feet. When I began having symptoms of PD, I threw away half of my shoes. I thought I would never be able to wear nice shoes again due to the severe foot pain I was all I needed was the right medication. However, I realized that the most important thing in order to enjoy life and continue wearing those nice shoes I love so much was and is foot care especially for those of us who have chronic illnesses that impact our ability to walk and stand.
Our feet go through heck keeping up with us and our PD so we MUST give them lots of TLC to maintain them looking and feeling soft, strong and pain-free.
Many of us with PD like me have foot pain from the very beginning due to dystonia, rigidity, plantar fasciitis, and even callus formation that develops from stepping wrong due to pain and dystonia; but eventually most of us may experience pain at some point due to disease advancing leading to cramping, neuropathies and abnormal distortions in the joint of our feet and toes due to dystonia’s and dyskinesia’s.
Second, take a close look at your feet on a regular basis. Use a mirror to inspect the bottom of your feet looking for cuts, bruises, blisters, ingrown nails, and callus.
Third, make sure the shoe size fits- our shoe size changes as we age; measure with largest foot at end of day when purchasing new shoes.
Fourth, a lot of our PD medications can cause swelling as do aging so make sure that you prop your legs and feet up when you are sitting down; this helps circulation of your feet and thus maintain better health.
Fifth, do not walk bare-footed.
Sixth, Moisturize! Moisturize! Look for creams or balms containing Shea butter or cocoa butter. First, exfoliate. I like using amope pedi for exfoliation of dry skin of feet; it is easy to use and inexpensive; you can find at Amazon or any drug store including Wal-Mart and Target. you can always use a pumice stone if you like but this requires a lot more coordination and fine motor skills. But, before you exfoliate soak your feet in warm water made of Black tea for 15 minutes to soften skin. Make sure you always dry your feet thoroughly even between your toes to avoid fungal and bacterial infections as well as bad odors.
Seventh, Get support- this means if you can’t tend to your feet on your own and trim your nails then seek a podiatrist. Also, he/she can help give you get insoles for your shoes to make them more comfortable and feet feel less painful. These professionals can also remove those pesky calluses which you might not be able to smooth out on your own. Other support includes your neurologists, who can do Botox injections for pain (and wrinkle free toes 🙂 ) but can also send you for orthotics to be made if your toes and feet are dystonic and need added support besides medication while referring to other ancillary services like PT, OT to aid in pain control and foot care as well.
Eight, wear sunscreen to the tops of your feet with a SPF of at least 45 when wearing open sandals/shoes because we are already predisposed to melanomas with PD and our feet are not immune from this.
Ninth, make sure that you alternate shoes especially important to avoid pain in feet because of our gait abnormalities may lead to wearing of shoes in a single area creating more imbalance and aggravating callus and dystonia.
Tenth don’t Forget your Toenails!
Getting a pedicure is a lot cheaper than any therapy plus a lot more enjoyable. if you must do on your own, I suggest Opi fast dry colors because a lot less difficult to mess up even with severe tremors and dystonia. But first add some vitamin E oil to your toenails because the combination of medications and age can certainly due a number on our nails causing them to become brittle.
Now, your feet will feel rejuvenated, soft and strong at the same time ready to face another day with PD.