A man said his unusual extreme phobia of people shaking their legs or wiggling their toes is ruining his life.
Adam Tiano, 30, can’t remember a time when he wasn’t made to feel extremely uncomfortable by the sight.
As a child he’d run off to his room to avoid seeing his mum or dad tapping their foot – but decades on his bizarre fear has got worse.
He can’t watch a football match for fear of seeing a juddering knee, and public transport is out of the question.
The office where he works had to be rearranged so a foot-tapping colleague was out of his eyeline after he threatened to leave the company, and dating is nearly impossible.
Property manager Adam will get up and leave if he sees someone tapping their toes or jigging their knee – and if he can’t escape he feels furious, anxious and sweaty.
Desperate Adam, from Tottenham, north London, said: “I’ve changed my life to avoid seeing people wriggling their legs and it’s got to the point where if I see someone doing it, I’ll just leave.
“I feel pure anger when I see somebody shaking their legs.
“There’s a few feelings but when I see someone doing it, I sit there thinking that I want to chop their feet off.
“If I’m made to sit there and look at it, I get so angry that I’m just sat there sweating but I’ve never had an outburst at a stranger as I know it’s my issue to deal with.
“I have to make sure that I can’t see someone doing it. I do everything I can to block it out but I know that I need to confront it.
“For me, it’s now got to the point that this is the most important thing in my life to sort out and I do need help but have no idea where to get it.”
Adam’s phobia has been part of his life for as long as he can remember and he has vivid childhood memories of shutting himself off in a room to avoid seeing his brothers shaking their legs.
As an adult, he has had trips to the pub, journeys on the tube and football matches ruined by his fear.
Adam said: “I’m a big Tottenham fan but I won’t go to a home match because when you sit down, you can see people shaking their legs and I can’t handle it.
“Thankfully, everyone stands up at an away match so I can go to them, it’s my joy.
“I don’t take the tube for that reason as well, it just does my head in seeing people do it.
“There’s been countless occasions when I’ve been watching Tottenham in the pub and someone is shaking their leg so I’ve moved seats.
“If I can’t move seats, I’ll block it from my vision by putting my hood up or placing my hand by my eye or sitting in a certain position where I can’t see it.”
His phobia has made keeping relationships with friends and family difficult as many of them are known to shake their legs.
Adam said: “I’ve known my best mate for a long, long time and the only time we’ve ever had arguments is over this because he’s a big shaker.
“I went crazy at him once over him shaking his leg and he told me to get help. He’s right in that I do need help, I don’t contest that, but I don’t know where to go.
“My circle of friends know I’ve got an issue so if I go round to their flats, they won’t shake their legs but I can’t sit there and say don’t do it in your own home, that’s not fair.”
Adam has worked hard to make a life for himself as a successful property manager but his phobia has even created issues in his career.
Despite living in north London, he can’t take the tube to work due to seeing passengers shaking their legs and has had to deal with colleagues who do the same thing.
He said: “We took on a girl at our company just over a year ago and she does the thing that my dad does which is where you sit down in your chair, cross your feet and shake your foot.
“I threatened to quit the company – I just couldn’t take it.
“In the end, we put up four boxes blocking my eyeline from her feet and now I can get on with my work without seeing her shake.”
Despite frequent trips to various medical professionals as well as a life coach, Adam is no closer to getting the help he needs to get on top of his phobia.
He said: “I’m not sure what to do – I don’t know who to contact.
“I need someone to understand and give me some expert advice on what to do.
“I’ve got my own ideas about where it’s come from, I reckon its a suppressed memory, but I need help as it’s getting worse because I have shut it out for so long.
“I believe it’s an anxiety of some sort and I think it is somehow related to my family because the ones that bother me the most are my mum and dad shaking their legs.
“I keep myself to myself and work my ways around it but it’s terrible because I can’t live a normal life and it’s just getting worse now.
“I’m 30 now and I’m at the point where I have to deal with it. It’s killing me.”
Lauren Rosenberg, a fear and phobia expert and author said she would be willing to help Adam.
She said: “It’s difficult to know exactly what it is the cause until I have spoken to him.
“Usually people shake their legs when they are anxious and stressed and it is the body’s way of releasing that.
“For him, watching that, must be reliving a memory which has happened.
“There is definitely something making him, in his subconscious mind, thinking something is dangerous, and that he needs to keep out of it.
“The subconscious mind has associated that leg or feet movement with something linked to danger. Deep down there is a logic.”