Variation of plantar pressure in Chinese diabetes mellitus

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Abstract

To investigate dynamic changes in plantar pressure in Chinese diabetes mellitus patients and to provide a basis for further preventing diabetic foot. This is a cross-sectional investigation including 649 Chinese diabetes mellitus patients (diabetes group) and 808 “normal” Chinese persons (nondiabetes group) with normal blood glucose levels. All the subjects provided a complete medical history and underwent a physical examination and a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. All subjects walked barefoot with their usual gait, and their dynamic plantar forces were measured using the one-step method with a plantar pressure measurement instrument; 5 measurements were performed for each foot. No significant differences were found in age, height, body weight, or body mass index between the two groups. The fasting blood glucose levels, plantar contact time, maximum force, pressure-time integrals and force-time integrals in the diabetes group were significantly higher than those in the nondiabetes group (p < 0.05). However, the maximum pressure was significantly higher in the nondiabetes group than in the diabetes group (p < 0.05). No difference was found in the contact areas between the two groups (p > 0.05). The maximum plantar force distributions were essentially the same, with the highest force found for the medial heel, followed by the medial forefoot and the first toe. The peak plantar pressure was located at the medial forefoot for the nondiabetes group and at the hallucis for the diabetes group. In the diabetes group, the momentum in each plantar region was higher than that in the nondiabetes group; this difference was especially apparent in the heel, the lateral forefoot and the hallucis. The dynamic plantar pressures in diabetic patients differ from those in nondiabetic people with increased maximum force and pressure, a different distribution pattern and significantly increased momentum, which may lead to the formation of foot ulcers.

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