People with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) experience lower quality of life caused by associated balance, posture, and gait impairments. While focal muscle vibration (FMV) has been associated with improvements in gait performance in individuals with neurological disorders, little is known about its effectiveness in patients with DPN. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of FMV on gait outcomes in patients with DPN. The authors randomized 23 participants into three FMV intervention groups depending upon the delivery of vibration. Participants applied wearable FMV to the bilateral quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior, 10 min per muscle, three times per week over a four-week period. Spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinetic gait parameters at baseline and post-intervention were calculated and analyzed. Gait speed, cadence, stride time, left and right stance time, duration of double limb support, and left and right knee flexor moments significantly improved after four weeks of FMV. Trends toward significant improvements were noted in maximum left and right knee flexion. Results indicate that FMV therapy was associated with improvements in gait parameters in individuals with DPN, warranting expanded study of FMV therapy for long-term gait performance improvement in these individuals.
Keywords: diabetic peripheral neuropathy; gait; kinematics; kinetics; spatiotemporal; wearable focal muscles vibration.