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Keywords:

  • age;
  • balance;
  • diabetic neuropathy;
  • muscle strength;
  • proprioception

Introduction: Nerve conduction studies provide information regarding the status of peripheral nerves, but relationships with sensorimotor capacities that influence mobility have not been defined. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted on data from 41 older subjects (20 women and 21 men, age 69.1 ± 8.3 years), including 25 with diabetic neuropathy of varying severity and 16 without diabetes or neuropathy. Measurements included routine fibular motor nerve conduction studies and laboratory-based determination of ankle inversion/eversion proprioceptive thresholds and ankle inversion/eversion motor function. Results: Independent of age, fibular amplitude correlated robustly with ankle inversion/eversion proprioceptive thresholds (R2 = 0.591, P < 0.001), moderately with ankle inversion and eversion rates of torque generation (R2 = 0.216; P = 0.004 and R2 = 0.200; P = 0.006, respectively), and more strongly when fibular motor amplitude was normalized for body mass index (R2 = 0.350; P < 0.001 and R2 = 0.275; P = 0.001). Conclusions: Fibular motor amplitude was strongly associated with ankle sensorimotor capacities that influence lateral balance and recovery from perturbations during gait. The results suggest that nerve conduction study measures have potential for an expanded clinical role in evaluating mobility function in the population studied. Muscle Nerve 47: 497–503, 2013