THE BLOG

Attention Parkinson Toe Curlers!

05/02/2015 15:23 | Updated 06 April 2015

Due to the very nature of Parkinson's disease, every patient is affected in a different way. Finding the best combination of additional therapies to accompany one's treatment makes optimal use of medications, ensuring you have the best possible quality of life.

They say "a problem shared is a problem halved". Quite frankly, I was getting desperate. After last week, appealing to fellow Parkinson's sufferers regarding a particular pesky problem many are afflicted with, (the dreaded painful toe curling symptom) I received many interesting and inventive suggestions. Thank you to everyone who answered me.

I would like to reiterate to be clear; I am not a doctor, merely a patient sharing my personal experiences on a journey with Gaucher and Parkinson's disease. Of course as always, the golden rules apply: what works for one patient, may not work for another, and when it comes to any form of medication, including what may be termed as over the counter herbal remedies, ALWAYS consult with your doctor/neurologist first.

Thanks to several ideas from fellow patients around the world, I tried combining what sounded the best for me, and much to my delight and amazement, managed to rid myself of the curling toes first thing in the morning before my Parkinson's medications have kicked in. Will the dreaded toe curling return or become a thing of the past? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am enjoying toe curling free days!

If you have Parkinson's, and suffer the annoying symptom of curling toes that appear to have a mind of their own, are incredibly painful, making it almost impossible to walk, I'm sure you are curious to know what worked for me. Well it's no secret, and very simple. I followed some easy exercises to lengthen and stretch the calf muscles and souls of my feet. I found exercises on Facebook and YouTube by Sherryl Klingelhofer who is a Certified Master Fitness Trainer and Tai Chi Moving For Better Balance Instructor, with much experience in particular relating to Parkinson's disease. Along with these exercises, sitting at the dining table, my husband's carpentry skills came into play. I now have a custom made platform to put my feet on, ensuring my toes no longer dangle in the air, which also alleviates any pressure on the back of my thigh muscles from pressing on the edge of the chair.

Sounds almost too simple doesn't it? Why has it taken so long for me find a solution? I was led to believe nothing could be done to alleviate the painful toe curling problem, but now I know better. A more important question comes to mind; how many other symptoms could be eliminated without resorting to taking more medications? Surely the less pills we pop, the better, as every medication appears to have its own set of side effects, for which we are often prescribed more pills resulting in some kind of vicious circle.

Sharing information with fellow sufferers becomes an invaluable resource, for there's so much doctors don't know about the complexities of Parkinson's. I'm sure doctors have heard about helpful ideas, such as going barefoot in the house or walking with Nordic poles. There are certain things as a patient, one finds out through trial and error and learning from experience of fellow sufferers. Most of this advice doesn't come from doctors since I presume there are no official medical trials or data to back up these alternative methods, which can accompany your routine Parkinson's medicines.

Staying proactive and engaged with other patients is of great help, for between us all, we have a wealth of information gained by personal experience.
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