Habitual Physical Activity, Peripheral Neuropathy, Foot Deformities and Lower Limb Function: Characterizing Prevalence and Interlinks in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Background: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) may have diverse foot problems, but how these problems are linked with physical activity is not clear. This study investigated the prevalence of foot problems among patients with T2DM and investigated how the problems were related to physical activity.
Methods: Habitual physical activity, peripheral neuropathy, lower limb functions and foot deformities of 246 T2DM patients were respectively assessed with the Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire, Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument, Lower Limb Function Scale, and a self-designed foot deformity audit form.
Results: Habitual physical activity index (3.2 ± 0.83) was highest in work-related activities; 69 (26.1 %) patients presented with peripheral neuropathy and 52 (19. 7%) had the lowest limb function. Pes planus was the most prevalent foot deformity (20.1%). Significant differences existed in physical activity indices across deformity groups (p < 0.05) and total activity index was related to neuropathic and lower limb function scores (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: A higher work-related but reduced participation in sports and leisure time physical activity among the patients was observed. Habitual physical activity was lowest in patients with a forefoot deformity, higher neuropathic scores and lesser lower limb function scores. Patients with T2DM in these categories may be a target for special physical activity intervention programmes.
Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus, Foot Complications, Physical Activity