Aims: This study analyzed the gait patterns of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) patients and changes in the center of mass sway to prevent the formation and recurrence of foot ulcers.
Methods: Forty-two subjects were divided into the diabetes mellitus (DM), DPN, and diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) groups. We measured the range of motion (ROM) of the lower limb joints in the resting position and the center of mass sway in the standing position. Joint angles, ROM during walking, and distance factors were evaluated.
Results: In the DFU group, ROM limitation during walking was detected at the knee joint, and functional and ROM limitations were found at the ankle joint. The step length ratio and step width in the DFU group were significantly lower and higher than those in the DM group, respectively. The sway distances in the DFU group were greater than those in the DM and DPN groups.
Conclusions: Functional joint limitations and gait changes due to the decreased ability to maintain the center of gravity were observed in the DFU group. As DPN progressed, the patients’ gait became small, wide, and shuffled. Thus, supporting joint movement during walking may help reduce the incidence and recurrence of foot ulcers.
Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s13340-023-00647-9.