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Footwear for the neuropathic patient: offloading and stability

Van Deursen, Robert William Martin 2008. Footwear for the neuropathic patient: offloading and stability. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews 24 (Supp.1) , S96-S100. 10.1002/dmrr.827

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Diabetic neuropathy is related to plantar ulceration through a variety of factors of which increased plantar pressures and loss of protective sensation are the most important. Loss of sensation in the lower limbs is also related to postural instability and an increased risk of falling. Ankle and foot proprioception play an important role in postural control and this sensory function is also affected by neuropathy. It is conceivable that footwear, orthotics, casts and braces used for treatment or prevention of plantar ulceration through offloading of the injured or at-risk foot area can exacerbate the postural instability and risk of falling. This has, however, received very limited attention in the literature. There are studies that have demonstrated that footwear adjustments can influence balance and stability in healthy, elderly subjects. The adjustments made to footwear for the diabetic foot are generally more dramatic and, therefore, are expected to have a greater influence on postural stability. Furthermore, casts and braces tend to deviate even more from normal footwear. This may seriously interfere with normal gait and posture and, therefore, stability. So far the evidence suggests that patients wearing such devices demonstrate markedly reduced activity levels. This reduced activity could add to the effect of offloading. This could also be interpreted to indicate problems with stability.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: diabetic foot; offloading; postural stability
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1520-7552
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:59

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