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Gait Posture. 2010 Oct;32(4):581-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.08.006. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Association between sensorimotor function and forward reach in patients with diabetes.

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Department of Physical Therapy, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Deterioration in the function of the sensorimotor system is often seen in patients with diabetes and could be related to balance impairments. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between sensorimotor function and forward reach ability in patients with diabetes. Thirty-one patients with Type 2 diabetes went through a monofilament test of plantar touch-pressure threshold, an ankle joint reposition test for joint position sense, and a series of strength tests of the lower leg. These patients also performed the forward reach test in standing to measure the reach distance and displacement of the center of mass (COM), using a motion analysis system. Correlational and regressional analyses were conducted to determine the association between sensorimotor and balance parameters. It was found that greater reach distance and COM displacement were significantly correlated with lower plantar touch-pressure threshold and greater plantarflexion strength. Regression analysis showed that after controlling the variance in the subject characteristics, plantar touch-pressure threshold was a significant predictor for reach distance and COM displacement, while plantarflexion strength was also a significant predictor for COM displacement. These findings highlight the importance of the assessment of plantar sensitivity and the need for detailed balance or fall risk assessment for patients with impaired plantar insensitivity.

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