Balance control in peripheral neuropathy: are patients equally unstable under static and dynamic conditions?

Gait Posture. 2006 Apr;23(3):364-73. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2005.04.002.


The aim of this investigation was to assess the potentially different effects of impaired proprioceptive input in balance control under static and dynamic conditions in neuropathic patients. We recruited 20 normal subjects and 27 patients affected by neuropathies known to affect to a different extent large and medium size afferent fibres. The patients comprised 5 with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A), 8 with CMT type 2 (CMT2) and 14 with Diabetes polyneuropathy (Diabetics). Measurement of balance during quiet stance on a stabilometric platform showed that sway area (SA) was larger in the CMT2 and Diabetics than normal subjects or in CMT1A, under both eyes open and closed conditions. The estimated conduction velocity (CV) of the group II afferent fibres was lower in CMT2 and Diabetics than in normal subjects and CMT1A. Across all patients, SA increased as a function of the slowing of group II CV. During a dynamic balance task the head A-P displacement was only slightly increased in the patient groups with respect to normals, despite the increased delay at which the head followed displacement of the feet. The unpredictably good performance of all patient groups under dynamic condition, which was at variance with their imbalance during quiet stance, may indicate that these patients learnt to exploit anticipatory postural strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology