Importance of Footwear Outsole Rigidity in Improving Spatiotemporal Parameters in Patients with Diabetes and Previous Forefoot Ulcerations

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We aimed to identify if any differences existed in spatiotemporal parameters during gait among different densities of rocker soles in patients with a history of neuropathic ulcerations and the differences in comfort between shoe conditions. This study was a cross-sectional study of 24 patients with diabetes and a history of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Spatiotemporal parameters (duration of stance phase (ms), stride length (cm), and step velocity (m/s)) were analyzed in barefoot, semirigid outsole, and rigid outsole footwear conditions. A dynamic pressure measurement system (Footscan® system, RSscan International, Olen, Belgium) was used to assess shoe conditions. We also analyzed differences in comfort between the shoe conditions using a visual analog scale. A Wilcoxon test for paired samples was used to assess gait differences. Result showed that a rigid outsole causes changes in the subphases of the stance phase (p < 0.001; Cohen d = 0.6) compared to a semirigid outsole. Stride length (p < 0.001; Cohen d = 0.66) and step velocity were significantly longer (p < 0.001; Cohen d = 2.03) with the use of rigid outsole footwear. A rigid rocker sole reduces the time of the stance phase, in addition to increasing the stride length and velocity of step in patients with a previous history of DFUs.
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