People with Diabetic Foot Ulcers Take Fewer Steps, Expend More Energy Than Those Without Wounds

This fascinating work from our SALSAmigos in Queensland.

Differences in the daily activity of patients with diabetic foot ulcers compared to controls in their free-living environments.

Sheahan H1,2, Canning K1,2, Refausse N1,2, Kinnear EM2,3, Jorgensen G4, Walsh JR5, Lazzarini PA2,3,6.

The aims of our study were to investigate multiple daily activity outcomes in patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) compared to diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and diabetes (DM) controls in their free-living environments. We examined daily activity outcomes of 30 patients with DFU, 23 DPN and 20 DM. All patients wore a validated multi-sensor device for > 5 days (>22 hours per day) to measure their daily activity outcomes: steps, energy expenditure (kJ), average metabolic equivalent tasks (METs), physical activity (>3·0 METs) duration and energy expenditure, lying duration, sleep duration and sleep quality. We found that DFU patients recorded fewer median (interquartile ranges, IQR) daily steps [2154 (1621-4324)] than DPN [3660 (2742-7705)] and DM [5102 (4011-7408)] controls (P < 0·05). In contrast, DFU patients recorded more mean ± SD daily energy expenditure (kJ) (13 006 ± 3559) than DPN (11 085 ± 1876) and DM (11 491 ± 1559) controls (P < 0·05). We found no other differences in daily activity outcomes (P > 0·1). We conclude that DFU patients typically take fewer steps but expend more energy during their normal daily activity than DPN and DM controls. We hypothesise that the increased energy expenditure for DFU patients may be due to wound healing or an inefficient gait strategy. Further investigations into this energy imbalance in DFU patients may improve healing in future.

Int Wound J. 2017 Jul 13. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12782. [Epub ahead of print]

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