One that experiences a Sensorimotor Peripheral Neuropathy, or a loss of feeling and strength in their legs, will have a loss of sensation of how the body is positioned because of loss of feedback from the ankle.
This loss of strength and sensation may lead to ankle instability and the center of pressure on the foot is moved forward during walking. Because of this loss of strength and sensation you tend to pull your legs forward by using the hip flexors instead of using foot muscles when you walk. This is defined as using a hip strategy for balance as opposed to an ankle strategy.
This altered mechanism of balance could cause one to be more predisposed to falls. Significant decrease in ankle strength and mobility can be the primary factor contributing to an altered walking pattern.
I’m Steve Taylor, Physical Therapist of Southern Physical and Occupational Therapy Services
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