It has been well established that patients with diabetes suffer from increased fall risk. However it is still debated whether gait alterations happen only in diabetic patients with neuropathy, or also in those without neuropathy.
Using an innovative technology based on body worn sensors, a recent publication in Gait&Posture (Allet et al, 2009) explored how gait might be altered in diabetic patients under various real life conditions including three different surfaces (tar, grass, and stones).
Interestingly their results demonstrate that gait is altered in diabetic patients irrespective of neuropathy complication. However gait inter-cycle variability is mainly affected due to neuropathy suggesting that neuropathy may alter automaticity of gait. Therefore, if the aim is assessing gait alteration due to neuropathy, it is recommended to assess gait over enough long walking distance as well as under attentional distraction conditions to amplify potential gait unsteadiness due to neuropathy complication.