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

Abstract

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
Volume75
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1994

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