November 2017

Gait findings support focus on proximal muscle function in people with diabetes

In the moment: Diabetes

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Lower extremity muscle force during gait differs significantly among patients with diabetic neuropathy, patients with diabetes but no neuropathy, and controls, according to research from Brazil that underscores the importance of maintaining proximal muscle function in patients with diabetes.

Investigators from the University of Sao Paolo analyzed the gait of 30 adults (10 in each of the aforementioned groups) as they walked barefoot at a self-selected speed, with cadence maintained between 96 and 120 steps per minute.

Gait adaptations differed between the diabetic patients with neuropathy and those without. Reductions in ankle extension force affected the gastrocnemius medialis in those with neuropathy and the soleus in those without. However, those with diabetes but no neuropathy compensated for this with an increase in vasti muscle force during early stance and a decrease in hamstring force during terminal swing, while those with neuropathy demonstrated increased hamstring force at push off.

The findings were published in the November issue of the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.


Gomes AA, Ackermann M, Ferreira JP, et al. Muscle force distribution of the lower limbs during walking in diabetic individuals with and without neuropathy. J Neuroeng Rehabil 2017;14(1):111.

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