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01-12-2009 | Research | Uitgave 1/2009 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2009

Clinical factors associated with a conservative gait pattern in older male veterans with diabetes

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2009
Auteurs:
James S Wrobel, Ryan T Crews, John E Connolly
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Competing interests

The authors disclose no potential conflicts of interest including employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, and patent applications/registrations.

Authors' contributions

JSW was the primary investigator and contributed to the specific aims, study design, patient examination, statistical analysis, and writing. JEC contributed to the specific aims, study design, and writing. RC contributed to the statistical analysis, interpretation of the results, and writing.

Abstract

Background

Patients with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy are at higher risk for falls. People with diabetes sometimes adopt a more conservative gait pattern with decreased walking speed, widened base, and increased double support time. The purpose of this study was to use a multivariate approach to describe this conservative gait pattern.

Methods

Male veterans (mean age = 67 years; SD = 9.8; range 37–86) with diabetes (n = 152) participated in this study from July 2000 to May 2001 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, VT. Various demographic, clinical, static mobility, and plantar pressure measures were collected. Conservative gait pattern was defined by visual gait analysis as failure to demonstrate a heel-to-toe gait during the propulsive phase of gait.

Results

Patients with the conservative gait pattern had lower walking speed and decreased stride length compared to normal gait. (0.68 m/s v. 0.91 m/s, p < 0.001; 1.04 m v. 1.24 m, p < 0.001) Age, monofilament insensitivity, and Romberg's sign were significantly higher; and ankle dorsiflexion was significantly lower in the conservative gait pattern group. In the multivariate analysis, walking speed, age, ankle dorsiflexion, and callus were retained in the final model describing 36% of the variance. With the inclusion of ankle dorsiflexion in the model, monofilament insensitivity was no longer an independent predictor.

Conclusion

Our multivariate investigation of conservative gait in diabetes patients suggests that walking speed, advanced age, limited ankle dorsiflexion, and callus describe this condition more so than clinical measures of neuropathy.

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