The Effects of Range-of-Motion Therapy on the Plantar Pressures of Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Finch University, Chicago, IL 60610, USA.
Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (Impact Factor: 0.65). 11/2002; 92(9):483-90. DOI: 10.7547/87507315-92-9-483
Source: PubMed


A randomized controlled study of 19 patients with diabetes mellitus (10 men, 9 women) was undertaken to determine the effects of home exercise therapy on joint mobility and plantar pressures. Of the 19 subjects, 9 subjects performed unsupervised active and passive range-of-motion exercises of the joints in their feet. Each subject was evaluated for joint stiffness and peak plantar pressures at the beginning and conclusion of the study. After only 1 month of therapy, a statistically significant average decrease of 4.2% in peak plantar pressures was noted in the subjects performing the range-of-motion exercises. In the control group, an average increase of 4.4% in peak plantar pressures was noted. Although the joint mobility data revealed no statistically significant differences between the groups, there was a trend for a decrease in joint stiffness in the treatment group. The results of this study demonstrate that an unsupervised range-of-motion exercise program can reduce peak plantar pressures in the diabetic foot. Given that high plantar pressures have been linked to diabetic neuropathic ulceration, it may be possible to reduce the risk of such ulceration with this therapy.

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    • "Few authors have described the subtle, positive effects of foot and ankle exercises in this population, although some studies were not randomized controlled trials [24,25], and others reported on quite short interventions and follow-up periods [26,27]. Therefore, there are still not enough data for conclusions to be arrived at regarding the effectiveness of such interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Foot musculoskeletal deficits are seldom addressed by preventive medicine despite their high prevalence in patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. To investigate the effects of strengthening, stretching, and functional training on foot rollover process during gait. A two-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial with a blinded assessor was designed. Fifty-five patients diagnosed with diabetic polyneuropathy, 45 to 65 years-old were recruited. Exercises for foot-ankle and gait training were administered twice a week, for 12 weeks, to 26 patients assigned to the intervention group, while 29 patients assigned to control group received recommended standard medical care: pharmacological treatment for diabetes and foot care instructions. Both groups were assessed after 12 weeks, and the intervention group at follow-up (24 weeks). Primary outcomes involved foot rollover changes during gait, including peak pressure (PP). Secondary outcomes involved time-to-peak pressure (TPP) and pressure-time integral (PTI) in six foot-areas, mean center of pressure (COP) velocity, ankle kinematics and kinetics in the sagittal plane, intrinsic and extrinsic muscle function, and functional tests of foot and ankle. Even though the intervention group primary outcome (PP) showed a not statistically significant change under the six foot areas, intention-to-treat comparisons yielded softening of heel strike (delayed heel TPP, p=.03), better eccentric control of forefoot contact (decrease in ankle extensor moment, p<.01; increase in function of ankle dorsiflexion, p<.05), earlier lateral forefoot contact with respect to medial forefoot (TPP anticipation, p<.01), and increased participation of hallux (increased PP and PTI, p=.03) and toes (increase in PTI, medium effect size). A slower COP mean velocity (p=.05), and an increase in overall foot and ankle function (p<.05) were also observed. In most cases, the values returned to baseline after the follow-up (p<.05). Intervention discreetly changed foot rollover towards a more physiological process, supported by improved plantar pressure distribution and better functional condition of the foot ankle complex. Continuous monitoring of the foot status and patient education are necessary, and can contribute to preserving the integrity of foot muscles and joints impaired by polyneuropathy. Trial registration: Identifier: NCT01207284, registered in 20th September 2010.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 04/2014; 15(1):137. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-15-137 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    • "Various studies have demonstrated that stretching exercises improve joint stiffness and reduce plantar pressure (Goldsmith et al., 2002). With the stiffening of the plantar soft tissue associated with DM, the sensory feedback and flexibility of the foot in stance may be disturbed, which may have a subsequent impact on postural control while standing. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The ankle-foot complex plays an important role in the mechanics of postural control. The objectives of this study were to compare the biomechanical properties of the ankle-foot complex of people with diabetes who had or did not have peripheral neuropathy with those healthy individuals; and to examine its correlation with postural control. Methods: A total of 64 individuals participated in this study: 9 people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, 23 diabetes without neuropathy, and 32 healthy controls. A hand-held ultrasound indentation system was used to assess the soft tissue biomechanical properties of the ankle-foot complex. The Sensory Organization test was performed using The Smart EquiTest system to assess postural control. Findings: The soft tissue of the Achilles tendon was significantly thickened in all individuals with diabetes (P<0.001), and was associated with the vestibular ratio (r=0.40; P<0.05). The Young's modulus of the plantar soft tissue was significantly increased in the diabetic neuropathy group (all P<0.05). Also, the Young's modulus of the plantar soft tissue at the first metatarsal head was positively correlated with the somatosensory ratio (r=0.46; P<0.05) and visual ratio (r=0.39; P<0.05). Interpretation: Diabetic patients with or without neuropathy had a thicker Achilles tendon and stiffer plantar soft tissue than the healthy control. Changes in the biomechanical properties of the ankle-foot complex were correlated with the use of vestibular, somatosensory or visual inputs to maintain balance in individuals with diabetes.
    Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) 09/2012; 28(1). DOI:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2012.09.001 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Some physical therapy procedures, such as stretching and joint manipulation or mobilisation, exercise the joints, pushing them to their limits and, thus, inducing mechanical stress. Although it is not known if the remodeling of these structures is preserved in patients with diabetes mellitus, home exercise therapy has been suggested to improve distal joint mobility and plantar pressure distribution during gait in a randomised, controlled trial with DPN patients [43]. Passive and active stretching aimed at increasing ankle and first metatarsophalangeal ROM were performed for ten seconds in each joint position, up to three times a day, for one month. "
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    ABSTRACT: Polyneuropathy is a complication of diabetes mellitus that has been very challenging for clinicians. It results in high public health costs and has a huge impact on patients' quality of life. Preventive interventions are still the most important approach to avoid plantar ulceration and amputation, which is the most devastating endpoint of the disease. Some therapeutic interventions improve gait quality, confidence, and quality of life; however, there is no evidence yet of an effective physical therapy treatment for recovering musculoskeletal function and foot rollover during gait that could potentially redistribute plantar pressure and reduce the risk of ulcer formation. A randomised, controlled trial, with blind assessment, was designed to study the effect of a physiotherapy intervention on foot rollover during gait, range of motion, muscle strength and function of the foot and ankle, and balance confidence. The main outcome is plantar pressure during foot rollover, and the secondary outcomes are kinetic and kinematic parameters of gait, neuropathy signs and symptoms, foot and ankle range of motion and function, muscle strength, and balance confidence. The intervention is carried out for 12 weeks, twice a week, for 40-60 min each session. The follow-up period is 24 weeks from the baseline condition. Herein, we present a more comprehensive and specific physiotherapy approach for foot and ankle function, by choosing simple tasks, focusing on recovering range of motion, strength, and functionality of the joints most impaired by diabetic polyneuropathy. In addition, this intervention aims to transfer these peripheral gains to the functional and more complex task of foot rollover during gait, in order to reduce risk of ulceration. If it shows any benefit, this protocol can be used in clinical practice and can be indicated as complementary treatment for this disease. Identifier: NCT01207284.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 03/2012; 13(1):36. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-13-36 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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