Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Is the metabolic cost of walking higher in people with diabetes?

    Petrovic, M, Deschamps, K, Verschueren, SM, Bowling, FL, Maganaris, CN, Boulton, AJM and Reeves, ND (2016) Is the metabolic cost of walking higher in people with diabetes? Journal of Applied Physiology, 120. ISSN 8750-7587


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    People with diabetes walk slower and display biomechanical gait alterations compared with controls, but it remains unknown whether the metabolic cost of walking (CoW) is elevated. The aim of this study was to investigate the CoW and the lower limb concentric joint work as a major determinant of the CoW, in patients with diabetes and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Thirty-one nondiabetic controls (Ctrl), 22 diabetic patients without peripheral neuropathy (DM), and 14 patients with moderate/severe DPN underwent gait analysis using a motion analysis system and force plates and treadmill walking using a gas analyzer to measure oxygen uptake. The CoW was significantly higher particularly in the DPN group compared with controls and also in the DM group (at selected speeds only) compared with controls, across a range of matched walking speeds. Despite the higher CoW in patients with diabetes, concentric lower limb joint work was significantly lower in DM and DPN groups compared with controls. The higher CoW is likely due to energetic inefficiencies associated with diabetes and DPN reflecting physiological and biomechanical characteristics. The lower concentric joint work in patients with diabetes might be a consequence of kinematic gait alterations and may represent a natural strategy aimed at minimizing the CoW.

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