Podiatrists play a supportive role in managing some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, particularly those related to mobility and foot health. Recently Podiatrist Evan attended the Tumut Parkinson’s Support Group to discuss how Podiatry can help, here are several ways Podiatrists can assist individuals living with Parkinson’s:
- Gait analysis: Parkinson’s disease often affects a person’s gait, leading to shuffling, decreased arm swing, and difficulty with balance. Podiatrists can analyze a patient’s walking pattern to identify abnormalities and recommend interventions such as orthotic devices or exercises to improve gait mechanics and reduce the risk of falls.
- Foot care: Parkinson’s disease can cause changes in foot structure, such as the development of claw toes or hammertoes, which may increase the risk of skin breakdown and pressure ulcers. Podiatrists can provide regular foot examinations, trim toenails, treat calluses and corns, and recommend appropriate footwear to prevent complications and maintain foot health.
- Orthotic therapy: Custom orthotic devices can be prescribed by podiatrists to support proper foot alignment and alleviate pain associated with musculoskeletal issues commonly seen in Parkinson’s disease, such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis or clawed toes. Orthotics can also improve stability and balance during walking.
- Falls prevention: Parkinson’s disease can predispose individuals to falls due to impaired balance and coordination. Podiatrists can assess footwear for proper fit and stability and recommend modifications or prescribe orthopaedic shoes to reduce the risk of falls.
- Education and exercise: Podiatrists can educate patients and caregivers about foot care strategies, fall prevention techniques, and appropriate exercises to maintain foot and ankle flexibility, strength, and range of motion. They may also collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists, to develop comprehensive rehabilitation programs tailored to the individual’s needs.
Overall, Podiatrists can play a valuable role in the multidisciplinary team in management of Parkinson’s disease by addressing foot-related issues, improving mobility, and enhancing overall quality of life. To book a consultation with a Podiatrist at Rural Health phone (02) 5926 3806 or book online.