Abnormalities of foot pressure in early diabetic neuropathy

Diabet Med. May-Jun 1987;4(3):225-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.1987.tb00867.x.


Dynamic foot pressure has been studied in 44 diabetic subjects of mean age 52 years with no clinical evidence of neuropathy and in an age and sex matched non-diabetic control group. Vibration perception threshold (VPT), sensory (SCV), and motor conduction velocities (MCV) were also measured in the diabetic subjects. Sixteen diabetic subjects (Group A) had abnormally high pressures under the metatarsal heads (greater than 10 kg/cm2), whereas the remaining 28 diabetic subjects had normal results (Group B). The ratio of toe to metatarsal head loading (normal 0.112) was significantly reduced in Group A (0.077) compared to Group B (0.127: p less than 0.05). VPT and sural nerve SCV were also significantly abnormal in Group A subjects compared with Group B (p less than 0.005 and p less than 0.02, respectively), though there were no differences in MCV. A significant inverse correlation was obtained between toe loading and VPT. It is concluded that abnormalities of foot pressure occur in early sensory neuropathy and may precede clinical abnormalities. Assessment of the toe-loading ratio may provide a sensitive measure of motor dysfunction in early diabetic neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Pressure
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Skin Ulcer / physiopathology
  • Sural Nerve / physiopathology