Nerve conditions are generally quite difficult to understand for a patient as there are several causes that could contribute to their development. These factors impact the function of the three types of nerves —autonomic, motor and sensory.
Amongst the many types of nerve conditions, peripheral neuropathy has been studied and researched in great detail. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a disease or condition that affects the nerves which affects movement, sensation and muscle strength. In diabetes, nerve damage, also known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, is a significant risk factor for the foot.
A research by Fernando et al. highlights the impact of nerve damage in diabetes on the walking patterns, foot pressure (while barefoot), and muscle use. The research involved reviewing 16 studies and the authors concluded that increased foot pressure and longer walking durations significantly differed between patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
This suggests that increased foot pressure, along with longer walking periods increases the risk of skin damage and ulcerations in patients, which can get worse because of the abnormal pressure on the muscle tissues.
In a study by Ferreira et al., the effects of nerve damage on the muscle strength of the lower body were studied. The study involved 92 participants (all men), of which 33 were non-diabetics, 31 had type 2 diabetes mellitus, and 28 had diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Using specialised equipment, the researchers were able to conclude that problems in foot and ankle movements, and thereby the walking patterns, were present in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, even before the development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The two studies we mentioned are important for developing preventative care strategies for the diabetic population. Such strategies would allow health care professionals to provide supportive treatment that is personalised to the type 2 diabetes mellitus patient and helps in improving mobility and stability
Highly customised foot insoles can be an essential part of a personalised supportive treatment for peripheral neuropathy. Foot insoles can help properly distribute the foot pressure and reduce strain on the bottom surface of the foot.
Customised foot insoles such as MASS4D® support the feet in the best posture and help reduce abnormal foot pressure by improving the distribution of weight. For patients suffering from diabetes, MASS4D® comes in specialised Bi-Lam cushion top cover. This top cover offers protection against blisters and ulcerations while helping improve function in the feet and lower body.
Contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with a certified MASS4D® provider in your area.
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Reference: Ferreira, J. P., Sartor, C. D., Leal, A. M. O., Sacco, I. C. N., Sato, T. O., Ribeiro, I. L., Soares, A. S., Cunha, J. E., Salvini, T. F. (2017) The Effect of Peripheral Neuropathy on Lower Limb Muscle Strength in Diabetic Individuals. Clinical Biomechanics: February 2017, Vol. 43, pp. 67-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2017.02.003
Reference: Fernando, M., Crowther, R., Lazzarini, P., Sangla, K., Cunningham, M., Buttner, P., Golledge, J. (2013) Biomechanical Characteristics of Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis of Findings From The Gait Cycle, Muscle Activity And Dynamic Barefoot Plantar Pressure. Clinical Biomechanics: August 2013, Vol. 28, pp. 831-845. DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2013.08.004
Reference: Lott, D. J., Hastings, M. K., Commean, P. K., Smith, K. E., Mueller, M. J. (2007) Effect of Footwear and Orthotic Devices on Stress Reduction and Soft Tissue Strain of the Neuropathic Foot. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon): March 2007, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 352-359. DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2006.10.010
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