despite podiatry advice & shoe inserts the bunion on my big toe is worsening. I believe it is linked to my PD gait. can anyone advise?

This bunion seemed to form on my right big toe around time of my PD diagnosis in Nov 2011, although I had noticed my walking was a little different for a year or so before this. The podiatrist thought the bunion was related to wearing mule style shoes ( backless) too much, as well as fact that my left leg is shorter. the podiatrist provided some inserts ( right side thicker than left - a surprise to me) and advised greater variety in shoe type as long as they are wide enough in toe box, sensible and of course comfortable. I have broad feet anyway so have always chosen shoes as carefully as possible and that is why mule style shoes seemed appropriate in recent years. Now I find mules offer less support so they are off menu now. In past months the bunion has increased in size, is more painful and is starting to push toe over a little plus ingrowing toe nail. I am waiting for another podiatry appointment but this is a slow process. I now believe that Parkinson gait changes are causing this bunion development and wonder if anyone has experienced similar and can offer any information or advice. Is there anything available that could help straighten / improve toe alinement? In addition I have wondered about getting a pair of shoes custom made, however I have googled this without success in UK.

Looking forward to replies.


4 Replies

  • This is an interesting consideration. I developed a bunion on my affected side around the same time as my PD dx but I never thought of any relationship between them. My big toenail has also become dark and thick - what of yours? Advice? Sorry I don't have any. I just have to be careful to wear shoes that are sturdy and don't irritate the bunion. I'm interested to hear what you have learned about it.

  • Hi Lesleyd,

    Our biographies look similar so I will message you privately via this site. Please feel free to read my biog & see if you like to talk further.

    Re the bunion:

    1.is there a history of bunions in your family? Bunions can be familial - mine skipped a generation - my grandfather had bad ones - mother not - myself & siblings all have them.

    2.are they related to PD? I think not, in my case anyway. One thing which might make it seem so is that they can affect your posture, balance & gait.

    3.do you have flat feet? Could be just a coincidence but many people with bunions also suffer flat feet. Mine had been flat for years unnoticed by physios who thus tried to give exercises which were physically impossible.

    4.a 20 minute session with a podiatrist in a Scholl shoe shop determined the flat feet - she asked me as I walked in whether or not I knew. The rest as they say is history.

    5.inserts & orthotics? I tried the various options offered after assessment at our local hospital. None of them worked &/or suited me despite fair trials except a pair of sandals I had made specially by **Orthaheel.

    6.when trying any treatment for the feet don't forget the impact on the spine of any postural changes. These can be bad as well as beneficial.

    7.what about surgery? After years of being told that my bunions were 'cosmetic' (bottom of the NHS list) I saw an orthopaedic surgeon re the clawing of the toes on my (affected) left side. He gave me a cortisone injection. This & the follow up exercises plus my positive attitude (sometimes called aggressive) gave excellent results on the movementt of the foot, though the bunion 'frozen' big toe was stopping total success (viz natural gait & straight toes). For being a good girl I was offered bunion surgery which I had done in November last year. This procedure was accompanied by 2 other minor ones to shorten a toe & to re-shape the arch. The pain was nowhere as bad as I had been led to expect (my sister & brother both had the op before me). I did as I was told & rested then heel-walked in an open boot. After 6 weeks the plaster was removed - it just slid off! My foot was straight & the only evidence of surgery was/is a fine scar.

    The cons of surgery.

    I was bored & frustrated at the lack of activity & my concentration was adversely affected by the pain killers so my usual diversions such as crosswords & reading were out. ALSO as my posture was being realigned my back & hips became painful as they were in positions they hadn't for 8 years. AND as my symptoms are left side only I couldn't make use of some of the aids such as crutches. I used a zimmer round the house & a triangular walker which had been my late mother-in-law's . We rented a wheelchair from the Red Cross for outdoor activities.

    **When Orthaheel were taken over by Scholl I think they stopped making individual shoes.

  • Last year I had surgery on the 4 small toes on my left foot for hammer toes. It was la terrible found to be dystonia. The dystonia then caused my big toe to become so deformed and painful (despite botox) that I had the toe fused 3 weeks ago. I'm glad I had both surgeries as the pain is greatly reduced. I'm still receiving botox injections and will as long as they still help. I am now finding the toes curling on my right foot. I will do injections and/or surgery as needed. I will do anything to help keep me mobile.

  • I to have this problem and the foot DR said it is from the pd shuffle. great sounding dance


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