The effect of textured insoles on gait patterns of people with multiple sclerosis

Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Nun's Island, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
Gait & posture (Impact Factor: 2.3). 05/2010; 32(1):67-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.03.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Somatosensory deficit is a common feature of MS. One method serving to combat impaired plantar sensation may be to provide enhanced sensory feedback from the sole of the foot by changing the characteristics of a shoe sole or surface. This study aimed to inspect the effect of textured insoles on gait patterns in a group of MS patients.
14 patients with MS and 10 healthy control subjects were recruited for this study. Plantar sensation was evaluated using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments. Kinematic, kinetic and EMG gait data were collected for MS patients walking with flat shoes only and again with shoes and a textured insole in contact with the sole of patients' feet.
A reduction in plantar sensation was identified in the MS patient group compared to the control group. Wearing the textured insoles there was a significant increase in hip and knee sagittal plane excursion, maximum ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion and in peak acceleration ground reaction force. Throughout the stance phase, EMG activity of shank muscles was typically found to increase whilst wearing the textured insoles.
Despite some positive changes in gait patterns when wearing textured insoles, an increased foot-shank angle in terminal stance suggests that patients did not propel their swing limb through increased contribution of ankle plantarflexor muscles, perhaps favouring more proximal muscle groups. Whilst the textured insoles may alter gait patterns in MS patients, their contribution to achieving a more regular gait pattern with sufficient propulsion from ankle plantarflexors remains uncertain.