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Gait Variability and Kinematic Alterations in People with Diabetes Mellitus and Peripheral Neuropathy

Bowling, Frank (2015) Gait Variability and Kinematic Alterations in People with Diabetes Mellitus and Peripheral Neuropathy. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Background: People with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy have been reported to show alterations in lower limb joint function compared to healthy non-diabetic people. Specifically the maximum angular movement available at certain joints can be reduced during static, non-weight bearing tasks. Limited joint range of motion has the potential to compromise balance and stability thereby increasing the risk of falling. It is unclear whether a reduction in the extent of movement available at the joints is reflected by a reduction in the amount of angular movement actually utilised during a functional task such as stair negotiation. The aim of this study was to determine if people with diabetes show reduced dynamic range of motion at the ankle, knee and hip joints during stair ascent and descent in comparison to controls. Falls risk during stair negotiation was calculated by measuring the degree of variability in dynamic joint range of motion. Methods: Data were generated from three groups: subjects with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy (DPN), diabetes without peripheral neuropathy (DM), and healthy controls (Ctl). The study was conducted in a gait laboratory using motion capture and related 3D software for analysis. Joint range of motion for the ankle, knee, and hip were captured during level walking, stair ascent, and descent. A seven step, bespoke staircase was fabricated for this purpose. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Newman-Keuls tests were used to analyse the data. Results: Significantly reduced ankle range of motion, in the sagittal plane, was observed in the DPN group during stair ascent when compared to the controls. For stair descent, the DPN group demonstrated a significant increase in knee and hip ROM in the frontal plane, and also hip ROM in the transverse plane. No significant differences between the groups were identified for joint variability. Conclusions: People with DPN demonstrate alterations in dynamic range of motion at the lower limb joints during stair ascent and descent. The degree of angular movement utilised for both stair tasks was decreased at the ankle joint and this has the potential to undermine balance and stability. In contrast, angular movement at the knee and hip joints was increased in the frontal and transverse planes. This may compensate for impaired balance and stability by increasing the base of support to maintain balance and assist in foot clearance and placement. The specific combination of increased angular movement at the knee and hip may represent a compensatory stair gait strategy in response to reduced angular movement at the ankle joint.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Elizabeth Boulton
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 09:36
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 17:54


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