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Friday, September 9, 2016

Sad Feet to Happy Feet

My feet had been bothering me for several months. The pain was different than last year. I wasn't sure what was wrong with my feet, but I thought I had better find out. I called to make an appointment with a Podiatrist and hoped I could get in before October. The receptionist asked if I could come in the next day. I said YES. Apparently someone had cancelled right before I called. Lucky me.

I stopped by later that day and picked up the forms so my Wonderful Husband could fill them out for me. The next morning I went in for my appointment. I explained to the Doctor that my feet hurt intermittently; some days were bad, other days I had no pain at all. He asked if they hurt when I first got out of bed (plantar fasciitis) and I said no. He had me walk, stand and manipulated my feet. He said my Achilles tendons were very tight and my one leg was shorter than the other. He grimaced when I told him I had Parkinson's and a DBS neuro-stimulator. He said having Parkinson's complicates things. Duh!

He put a lift in the heel of my one shoe and gave me some stretching exercises to do and said come back to see me in a month if you don't have any improvement. 

I went home and did the stretching exercises. Since this looked like something I would have to figure out on my own, I started paying very close attention to how my feet were affected by my Parkinson's medication cycle and DBS settings.  

I noticed that when my Parkie meds kicked in, two things happened. My feet would stretch and twist themselves awkwardly and I would walk on my tip toes, but only for about 10 minutes. If I was sitting down during these twice daily episodes, my feet were fine. If I was standing or walking when it happened, then my feet would hurt the rest of the day. This explained the intermittent foot pain. 

Since I was only taking half of a carbi/levodopa pill twice a day for my speech issues, cutting back wasn't an option, unless I wanted to be mute. (No snide comments from the boys out there!) 

I lowered my DBS settings a bit, but the stiffness and slowness returned. I tried adding another half a pill with the lower settings and finally found a good combination. I lowered my DBS settings by 2 tenths on each side and increased the carbi/levodopa to four halves a day and actually improved my speech! 

Within a few days of figuring all this out, my feet stopped hurting. I am still doing the stretches the doctor ordered. This Happy Parkie now has Happy Feet. 

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