Best Car for Folks with Foot Pain

Posted by katec @katec, Jan 17 1:20pm

Hi Everyone!

My son is 16 and is still having severe pain on the bottoms of both feet 24 hours a day due to his SFN. We are finding that the cars we own (all being big SUVs) are very painful for him to press down on the pedals so it really limits how long he wants to drive. I was wondering if anyone out there with similar pain, has found that driving a regular car is a bit easier on your foot pain than a large older SUV? We were thinking of renting a car for a day or so to see if he noticed a difference but wanted to throw it out there to see if anyone had any suggestions? Thank you so much!

Hi Kate @katec, Sorry to hear your son is still having severe pain on the bottoms of his feet with his neuropathy. I never gave much thought about the amount of pressure needed for brakes vs the size of the vehicle but it may be worth renting a smaller car for a few days to see if it helps. Also, there are some members who use hand controls for driving but that's a costly option also and may take another learning curve. Here are a few other discussions where members are discussing driving with neuropathy.

– Anyone use a device to allow driving without foot pedals?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/device-to-allow-driving-wo-using-foot-pedals/
– Driving with neuropathy: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/driving-with-neuropathy/

There are a couple of discussions on best shoes to wear for neuropathy:
– Does anyone find that a type of shoe helps your foot neuropathy?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/does-anyone-find-that-a-brand-of-shoes-helps-your-foot-neuropathy/
– If the shoe fits, wear it!: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/if-the-shoe-fits-wear-it/

What type of shoe does your son wear when driving?

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@johnbishop

Hi Kate @katec, Sorry to hear your son is still having severe pain on the bottoms of his feet with his neuropathy. I never gave much thought about the amount of pressure needed for brakes vs the size of the vehicle but it may be worth renting a smaller car for a few days to see if it helps. Also, there are some members who use hand controls for driving but that's a costly option also and may take another learning curve. Here are a few other discussions where members are discussing driving with neuropathy.

– Anyone use a device to allow driving without foot pedals?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/device-to-allow-driving-wo-using-foot-pedals/
– Driving with neuropathy: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/driving-with-neuropathy/

There are a couple of discussions on best shoes to wear for neuropathy:
– Does anyone find that a type of shoe helps your foot neuropathy?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/does-anyone-find-that-a-brand-of-shoes-helps-your-foot-neuropathy/
– If the shoe fits, wear it!: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/if-the-shoe-fits-wear-it/

What type of shoe does your son wear when driving?

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Thanks John! I will check out those other discussions. The only shoes he ever wears anymore are Crocs. When he’s home he prefers to be barefoot, but when we are out his go to are Crocs.

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@katec I think hand controls to drive would be best for him. I have a terrible time as well with car pedals and my Neuropathy. I have a small Honda Civic. I think it is the pressure of putting feet down on the pedal, not the size of the pedal itself. I am so sorry, momma, that your child is going through this. I can't imagine. Bad enough to get Neuropathy when old, like I am. My heart goes out to you, LoriRenee1

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@lorirenee1

@katec I think hand controls to drive would be best for him. I have a terrible time as well with car pedals and my Neuropathy. I have a small Honda Civic. I think it is the pressure of putting feet down on the pedal, not the size of the pedal itself. I am so sorry, momma, that your child is going through this. I can't imagine. Bad enough to get Neuropathy when old, like I am. My heart goes out to you, LoriRenee1

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Thank you so much for your kind words, Lori! I’m going to start investigating more and see what the process is and probably look at a more long term car for him if we are investing into something like that. He hates to be different and look different from his friends, but I’ve seen some systems that don’t look “handicapped” so I’m hoping he’d be open to something like that because I know only having a learners permit is bothering him, when all his friends have their actual licenses. It’s not easy in SO many ways being 16 with SFN, but we will make the best of it and plow forward. We are always looking for ways to make him more comfortable and will hopefully find some solutions eventually!! Have a great night! Kate

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@katec Your son is looking at a long future when he'll want to be able to drive and not look handicapped. It's costly, but I urge you to look at getting him a decent vehicle and having it equipped with Kempf digital hand controls. https://kempf-usa.com/Handcontrols_description.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3Y-ABhCnARIsAKYDH7vkxOjzgAn4tDnPQew8xxxApQ2X0yyDuwCF7eDz0eDowW9mBqwg5dMaAiOEEALw_wcB I have them on my little PriusC and they've given my independence. The ring within the steering wheel is my gas, and the brake is the lever extending from the steering wheel. There's a small, inconspicuous switch on the dashboard which allows one to move back and forth between hand controls and use of the pedals. Interestingly, I find that teens and young men are absolutely fascinated by my car now!

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@steeldove I was just looking at that brand and thought that ring system could be perfect for him! Since he’s just learning to drive I think it’s the perfect time to learn with hand controls since he barely knows another way and the idea that there’s a switch to use the pedals is genius!! I’ll start looking into it and we need to start looking at what car would be best for him for a longer haul….but he’s a teen and a new driver so thinking about one car being around for a “long haul” is daunting 😉 I wonder if one device can be moved to another car if the car is damaged?

Thanks so much for chiming in, it’s nice to hear some first hand experience.

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Maybe something like a Jeep or a pickup truck or a small SUV would work for the longterm. Part of the cost with Kempf includes loading your vehicle on a van and transporting it to a Kempf facility in Florida where it spends a couple of weeks essentially being rebuilt, then returning the vehicle to you. Given how extensive the system is, I doubt that it can be moved from one car to another. But who knows? I suggest you call Martine Kempf (who always answered her own phone!) to explain your situation and ask her advice and guidance. Not sure, but I think she gave me a lower price because I had to self pay (no VA, insurance, etc).

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@steeldove

Maybe something like a Jeep or a pickup truck or a small SUV would work for the longterm. Part of the cost with Kempf includes loading your vehicle on a van and transporting it to a Kempf facility in Florida where it spends a couple of weeks essentially being rebuilt, then returning the vehicle to you. Given how extensive the system is, I doubt that it can be moved from one car to another. But who knows? I suggest you call Martine Kempf (who always answered her own phone!) to explain your situation and ask her advice and guidance. Not sure, but I think she gave me a lower price because I had to self pay (no VA, insurance, etc).

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I just emailed them asking a bunch of questions! Thanks so much for all your advice, I really appreciate it! I’ll let you know what I hear back

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@katec Driving is a big deal to a 16 year old.

I have the same problem. It hurts my feet to sit at a light with my foot on the brakes, so I often put it in park until the light turns. Having a foot on the accelerator hurts after even just a few minutes, so I use cruise control even for a short distance.

I haven't noticed that our Taurus is any better or worse than my big pickup. I like to drive the Cadillac because there's more room to move my feet around. When I change position they hurt less for a few minutes, so I'm constantly moving them around.

For me, it doesn't matter what shoes I'm wearing because it's not the comfort of the shoes. They might make walking less painful, but behind the wheel, it's the pressure on the balls of my feet that hurts. When I'm driving, once in a while I tell my wife that my feet are really hurting, and she'll usually make a comment about getting rid of the shoes.

If I'm driving on open highway, I sometimes take my shoes off, and put my feet on the cushion I keep on the floor in front of the seat.

We become more adaptive when pain is involved.

I continue to pray for your son every night.

Jim

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katc: you may want to try a Honda CR-V. I’ve been very surprised that they have incorporated many things that other manufacturers don’t bother with, and after renting a few in other areas I’ve appreciated the designs even more. There are many handicapped friendly features that don’t look like handicap features.

Howard

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@katec
Hi Kate, I saw this discussion and was not previously aware of your son's situation. I am very very sorry to hear that someone so young has been stricken by this awful (understatement) affliction of peripheral neuropathy. This is a bit off of the topic of things which might facilitate his ability to drive. But I did think of a couple of things you might want to look into for your son if you have not already done so.

The first is something that might provide a small benefit in the way of some temporary relief for his burning feet. Linda, my wife, also has PN in her feet, which burn ferociously most of the time. Like many others we have tried quite a few different ideas we have heard about. One thing that has helped her a lot is a product called Penetrex. It is a homeopathic based product. I've recommended it a bunch of times, but here is the post where I first mentioned it (I think): https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anyone-here-dealing-with-peripheral-neuropathy/?pg=131#comment-395581

The other thing occurred to me when I was reading about how you and he were looking into stimulators, and that he tried a drg. I wondered if you had ever run across the idea of Calmare scrambler therapy? It was first developed by an Italian company and there are now a number of scrambler devices being used in the US. I had done a lot of reading about it 4-5 years ago. Rather than tell you about what it is, I will include a couple of links for you to look at. You can find a fair amount online about it. It apparently has helped some people a lot:
https://www.foundationforpn.org/2016/12/09/scrambler-therapy-for-treating-neuropathic-pain/
https://www.scramblertherapy.org/false-myths.htm
I just thought this might be a good fit as a treatment for your son. Linda can't do it as she can't tolerate the travel; we are in the Nashville area and have not found one here, and she is too weak and pain impaired to go outside our area, but your son, being so young, might not have as much trouble. The devices are located here and there. Maybe there is one in Texas. The treatment itself takes 2 weeks and used to cost about $5000, but not sure how much now. I really feel for your son, and for you as his parent and guardian. What a nightmare! My heart is with you guys! Best, Hank

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@katec

Thank you so much for your kind words, Lori! I’m going to start investigating more and see what the process is and probably look at a more long term car for him if we are investing into something like that. He hates to be different and look different from his friends, but I’ve seen some systems that don’t look “handicapped” so I’m hoping he’d be open to something like that because I know only having a learners permit is bothering him, when all his friends have their actual licenses. It’s not easy in SO many ways being 16 with SFN, but we will make the best of it and plow forward. We are always looking for ways to make him more comfortable and will hopefully find some solutions eventually!! Have a great night! Kate

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@katec Kate, again, my best to you. I am a Momma, and I wish you strength and soul in dealing with your lovely son. LoriRenee1

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