Evaluating the effects of sedentary behaviour on plantar skin health in people with diabetes

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Evaluating the effects of sedentary behaviour on plantar skin health in people with diabetes

Background: Diabetes-Related Foot Ulcers (DRFUs) are a common and devastating consequence of Diabetes Mellitus and are associated with high morbidity, mortality, social and economic costs. Whilst peak plantar pressures during gait are implicated cited as a major contributory factor, DRFU occurrence has also been associated with increased periods of sedentary behaviour. The present study was designed aimed to assess the effects of sitting postures on plantar tissue health.

Methods: After a period of acclimatisation, transcutaneous oxygen tensions (TCPO2) and inflammatory cytokines (IL-1α and IL-1RA) were measured at the dorsal and plantar aspects of the forefoot before, during and after a 20- min period of seated-weight-bearing in participants with diabetes (n = 11) and no diabetes (n = 10). Corre- sponding interface pressures at the plantar site were also measured.

Results: During weight-bearing, participants with diabetes showed increases in tissue ischaemia which were linearly correlated proportional to plantar pressures (Pearson’s r = 0.81; p < 0.05). Within the healthy group, no such correlation was evident (p > 0.05). There were also significant increases in post seated weight-bearing values for ratio for IL-1α and IL-1RA, normalised to total protein, post seated weight-bearing in participants with diabetes compared to healthy controls.

Conclusion: This study shows that prolonged sitting may be detrimental to plantar skin health. It highlights the need to further examine the effects of prolonged sitting in individuals, who may have a reduced tolerance to loading in the plantar skin and soft tissues.

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