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Parkinson's Disease

October 1, 2018 | A. Teav

Foot Clinic

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a degenerative neurological disorder that results in the loss of nerve cells in parts of the brain. One area of the brain that is affected is the sustantia nigra, a nerve cell that is responsible for producing the chemical messenger dopamine. One of the main roles of dopamine is to help coordinate movement. Thus when dopamine is lost, people with PD have a more difficult time controlling their body movements.

Lower Extremity Presentation

Individuals with PD may experience intermittent or sustained muscle contraction and muscle cramps in their feet. This can cause the Achilles tendon to tighten up, resulting in “toe-walking.” The smaller toes can develop a claw toe deformity, whereas the big toe might become hyper-extended and may point upward. Such types of deformities can result in increased pressure problems  and rubbing in shoes . At times, the ankle may also turn inward, thereby creating more pressure on the outside part of the foot.


Walking Gait

One of the presentations  with PD are tremors and involuntary movements, both of which result in difficulties with maintaining balance. People with PD are, accordingly, more susceptible to falls. Their posture may also worsen over time, and they may have trouble with mobility due to muscle stiffness. PD, furthermore, complicates an individual’s walking pattern and makes initiating movement all the more difficult. One may develop a shorter stride length and, rather than having a heel to toe gait, may shuffle or have a flat-footed gait (or the appearance thereof).


A Chiropodist can provide a full biomechanical assessment and provide insight on how an individual with PD’s gait and mobility can affect their feet and other joints.  A Chiropodist can also provide general foot care, monitor and treat nails, corns, calluses, among others, and  offer general footwear advice to prevent the development of foot ulcerations and sores. A Chiropodist generally works alongside a Physiotherapist to recommend daily exercises and other advice that will help to improve balance and mobility.


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