July 2016

Gait differentiates healthy and diabetic controls from patients with foot ulcers

In the moment: Diabetes

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Gait mechanics in patients with diabetic foot ulcers differ from those of both healthy controls and patients with diabetes who have no history of foot ulcer, according to research from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

Investigators analyzed kinematic, kinetic, and spatiotemporal gait parameters in 21 people with diabetes-related neuropathic plantar foot ulcers, 69 “diabetes controls” (people with diabetes but no history of foot ulcer), and 56 healthy controls as they walked at a self-selected pace along a 10-m walkway embedded with force plates.

Compared with both control groups, the patients with diabetic foot ulcers demonstrated significantly less plantar flexion, knee flexion, and pelvic obliquity. The group with foot ulcers also had significantly greater range of anterior-posterior ground reaction force, greater total vertical ground reaction force, slower walking speed, and smaller step length than controls.

The findings, epublished in late June by Clinical Biomechanics, are part of the Townsville Diabetes Foot Ulcer Study, which will continue to follow the two groups of patients with diabetes for six months.


Fernando ME, Crowther RG, Lazzarini PA, et al. Gait parameters of people with diabetes-related neuropathic plantar foot ulcers. Clin Biomech 2016 June 29. [Epub ahead of print]

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