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In-shoe Plantar Pressure Distribution in Nonneuropathic Type 2 Diabetic Patients in Singapore

Jasper W. K. Tong Podiatry Department, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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U. Rajendra Acharya Electronic and Computer Engineering Division, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

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Kuang C. Chua Electronic and Computer Engineering Division, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

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Peck H. Tan Electronic and Computer Engineering Division, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

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Background:

We sought to establish the in-shoe plantar pressure distribution during normal level walking in type 2 diabetic patients of Chinese, Indian, and Malay descent without clinical evidence of peripheral neuropathy.

Methods:

Thirty-five patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus without loss of tactile sensation and foot deformities and 38 nondiabetic individuals in a control group had in-shoe plantar pressures collected. Maximum peak pressure and peak pressure-time integral of each foot were analyzed as separate variables and were masked into 13 areas. Differences in pressure variables were assessed by analysis of covariance, adjusting for relevant covariates at the 95% confidence interval.

Results:

No significant differences were noted in maximum peak pressures after adjusting for sex, race, age, height, and body mass. However, patients with diabetes mellitus had significantly higher mean ± SD pressure-time integrals at the right whole foot (309.50 ± 144.17 kPa versus 224.06 ± 141.70 kPa, P < .05) and first metatarsal (198.65 ± 138.27 kPa versus 121.54 ± 135.91 kPa, P < .05) masked areas than did those in the control group after adjustment.

Conclusions:

Patients without clinical observable signs of foot deformity (implying absence of motor neuropathy) and sensory neuropathy had similar in-shoe maximum peak pressures as controls. This finding supported the notion that either component of neuropathy needs to be present before plantar pressures are elevated. Patients with diabetes mellitus demonstrated greater pressure-time integrals, implying that this variable might be the first clinical sign observable even before peripheral neuropathy could be tested. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(6): 509–516, 2011)

Corresponding author: Jasper W. K. Tong, MSc, Allied Health Specialists, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 100 Bukit Timah Road, S(229899), Singapore. (E-mail: jasper.tong.wk@kkh.com.sg)