Hip and ankle walking strategies: Effect on peak plantar pressures and implications for neuropathic ulceration

Michael J. Mueller, David R. Sinacore, Sara Hoogstrate, Lise Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Treatment of neuropathic plantar ulcers often is directed at reducing excessive, repeated peak plantar pressures (PPP). The purposes of this study were to determine whether instructing a subject to walk using a hip strategy would reduce forefoot PPP and change the kinematics of walking during a single session of testing. Thirteen subjects, 7 with peripheral neuropathy and a history of a recent plantar ulcer, and 6 controls participated. PPPs were measured with an in-shoe pressure monitoring system. Kinematics were measured with a computer-assisted motion analysis system. After data were collected as subjects walked using their normal walking pattern, subjects were instructed to walk using the hip strategy by decreasing their push-off, pulling their leg forward from their hips, decreasing step length, and maintaining their normal walking velocity. Compared with using the normal (ankle) strategy, using the hip strategy showed a significant 27% decrease in forefoot PPP and a 24% increase in heel PPP. Kinematic changes were decreased plantar flexion angular velocity, hip extension range-of motion (ROM), and step length, increased dorsiflexion ROM, and hip flexion ROM, but no change in walking velocity. These findings indicate that a change in walking pattern can result in lower forefoot PPP during a single session. Assuming patients can maintain the alterations in their walking pattern, these adaptations may help to heal plantar ulcers in some patients with peripheral neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1196-1200
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1994

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