Today, Thursday 30th May, is world MS day. I’ve decided to do a blog post on this disease as over the last few months I have had several patients who have been diagnosed with this disease however I still feel that there is a lack of education around it. I will briefly cover what MS is, its signs and symptoms and how a Podiatrist can help.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the brain and spinal cord, i.e. the central nervous system. The nerves in our bodies are covered with a layer called myelin sheath and in MS this protective sheath is attacked by the immune system which means that signals and messages cannot be transmitted as effectively between the brain and the rest of the body.
- Numbness or weakness
- Electric-shock sensations and pins and needles
- Tremor, dragging one foot, lack of coordination and unsteady gait
- Partial or complete loss of vision, prolonged double vision or blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or pain in parts of your body
- Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
How a Podiatrist can help:
Routine foot care: Looking after your feet can be difficult for people who have MS depending on their symptoms. As mentioned earlier some people experience problems with their vision and eyesight. It is very important that you seek professional treatment if you are not able to see or reach your feet properly to cut the toenails. Improper toenail cutting can lead to ingrown toenails and even infections.
Corns and callus: Foot drop is common among MS patients. Also some patients tend to drag one of their legs which causes extra pressure and friction on one foot. These stresses can cause callus and/or corns to form, both of which can be painful. A Podiatrist can easily remove corns and callus and will be able to advise you on how best to prevent them reoccurring.
Numbness: Due to the nerves in the legs and feet being affected, numbness and loss of sensation is common. A Podiatrist can carry out a neurological and vascular assessment to assess the sensation (feeling) and circulation in the feet. It is important to check the feet daily if sensation is not fully intact as cuts, blisters, etc. can go unnoticed due to the decreased feeling in the feet.
MS Ireland’s 2019 campaign will be called ‘My Invisible MS’ (#MyInvisibleMS) and the theme is Visibility. The aim is to raise awareness of the invisible symptoms of MS and the unseen impact of MS on quality of life. Follow MS Ireland on their social media platforms to keep up to date with all the latest news.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this blog post,