The majority of plantar ulcers in the diabetic population occur in the forefoot. Peripheral neuropathy has been related to the occurrence of ulcers. Long-term diabetes results in the joints becoming passively stiffer. This static stiffness may translate to dynamic joint stiffness in the lower extremities during gait. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate differences in ankle and knee joint stiffness between diabetic individuals with and without peripheral neuropathy during gait. Diabetic subjects with and without peripheral neuropathy were compared. Subjects were monitored during normal walking with three-dimensional motion analysis and a force plate. Neuropathic subjects had higher ankle stiffness (0.236 N·m/ deg) during 65 to 80% of stance when compared with non-neuropathic subjects (−0.113 N·m/deg). Neuropathic subjects showed a different pattern in ankle stiffness compared with non-neuropathic subjects. Neuropathic subjects demonstrated a consistent level of ankle stiffness, whereas non-neuropathic subjects showed varying levels of stiffness. Neuropathic subjects demonstrated lower knee stiffness (0.015 N·m/deg) compared with non-neuropathic subjects (0.075 N·m/deg) during 50 to 65% of stance. The differences in patterns of ankle and knee joint stiffness between groups appear to be related to changes in timing of peak ankle dorsiflexion during stance, with the neuropathic group reaching peak dorsiflexion later than the non-neuropathic subjects. This may partially relate to the changes in plantar pressures beneath the metatarsal heads present in individuals with neuropathy.
D.S. Blaise Williams III, Denis Brunt and Robert J. Tanenberg
D.S. Blaise Williams III, Jonathan H. Cole and Douglas W. Powell
Running during sports and for physical activity often requires changes in velocity through acceleration and deceleration. While it is clear that lower extremity biomechanics vary during these accelerations and decelerations, the work requirements of the individual joints are not well understood. The purpose of this investigation was to measure the sagittal plane mechanical work of the individual lower extremity joints during acceleration, deceleration, and steady-state running. Ten runners were compared during acceleration, deceleration, and steady-state running using three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics measures. Total positive and negative joint work, and relative joint contributions to total work were compared between conditions. Total positive work progressively increased from deceleration to acceleration. This was due to greater ankle joint work during acceleration. While there was no significant change in total negative work during deceleration, there was a greater relative contribution of the knee to total negative work with a subsequent lower relative ankle negative work. Each lower extremity joint exhibits distinct functional roles in acceleration compared with deceleration during level running. Deceleration is dominated by greater contributions of the knee to negative work while acceleration is associated with a greater ankle contribution to positive work.
Cherice N. Hughes-Oliver, Kathryn A. Harrison, D.S. Blaise Williams III and Robin M. Queen
In healthy individuals, symmetrical lower-extremity movement is often assumed and calculated using discrete points during various tasks. However, measuring overall movement patterns using methods such as statistical parametric mapping (SPM) may allow for better interpretation of human movement. This study demonstrated the ability of SPM to assess interlimb differences in lower-extremity movement during 2 example tasks: running and landing. Three-dimensional motion analysis was used to determine sagittal and frontal plane lower-extremity joint angles in (1) young and older individuals during running and (2) patients with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and uninjured control athletes during landing. Interlimb differences within each group were compared using SPM and paired t tests on peak discrete angles. No differences between limbs were found between young and older runners using SPM. Peak ankle eversion and plantar flexion angles differed between limbs in young and older runners. Sagittal plane hip angle varied between limbs in uninjured control athletes. Frontal plane ankle angle and sagittal plane knee and hip angles differed between limbs in patients with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction using SPM and discrete analysis. These data suggest that SPM can be useful to determine clinically meaningful interlimb differences during running and landing in multiple populations.