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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.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01207284