Have you ever thought about the important role your feet play in your daily life? On face value, your feet touch the ground whenever you’re standing, walking or running, and they are extensions of the legs, which help move you. But your feet are much more than that. After all, they are the foundation of your body, which means keeping your feet healthy can help keep you healthy! Many of us know when we have sore feet, when we twist our ankle or stub our toe but are you aware of the number of neurological conditions that can influence the health of our feet?
Podiatric conditions associated with neurology vary from cognitive problems that impair motor response and nerve damage that restricts movement, to peripheral vascular disease and circulatory disorders that can be an indicator of circulatory problems affecting the brain. Although podiatry and neurology are not specialties that are traditionally linked, the link between the feet and the brain works in two directions. Conditions affecting the feet can be both caused by and indicative of serious neurologic complications. The feet can act as warning signals for neurologic conditions that may well be caught early enough for effective holistic treatment, and specialist podiatric care of the feet can help to ease the burden of disease.
There are a number of conditions affecting the feet that have correlating symptoms in the brain and vice versa. Although this area is incredibly broad, these are just some of the conditions seen by us at The Forest Podiatry.
Peripheral vascular disease: cold feet, chronic fungal infections and chronic foot cramps can all be potential symptoms of circulatory disorders that can have detrimental effects on the feet and can be even more of a concern for the brain.
Diabetic neuropathy: the diabetic foot is one of the main conditions seen by us at The Forest Podiatry. There are numerous effects of diabetes on the feet, all which need to be monitored and checked regularly to ensure the risk of lower limb complications is minimised.
Arthritis: various forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and gout have been known to lead to neurologic abnormalities, such as nerve dysfunction and other neuropathies.
Cerebral palsy: muscle spasticity and diminished motor response can lead to podiatric pain requiring specialised podiatric treatment.
Charcot-Marie Tooth disease: Charcot-Marie Tooth disease is a genetic condition of the nervous system causing motor and neuropathy. The condition has a profound impact on the foot, with patients showing signs of muscle wasting, high arches and claw toes as classic symptoms of this disease.
Parkinson’s disease: stiff muscles in patients with Parkinson’s disease can cause severe foot pain and lead to a number of foot problems as a result of altered biomechanics. Podiatrists can play an active role in accommodating foot biomechanics and offloading areas of pain and concern.
Treatment of conditions affecting the fields of both podiatry and neurology can help to ease and/or prevent onset of further symptoms. Each Podiatrist at The Forest Podiatry has extensive knowledge of these conditions and will be able to implement treatment strategies that can be beneficial to both the feet and the brain.