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Project information

Impact of Lipoedema on gait

Having carried out a pilot in October 2017 to identify people with lipoedema, we want to work with obesity clinics to assess the gait of their patients to provide evidence that lipoedema distorts the gait and support differential diagnosis. Also identify options for gait improvement with lipoedema

6 months

Charity information: Lipoedema UK

Lipoedema UK logo
  • Need


    Lipoedema is often misdiagnosed as obesity. That prevents people getting an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

    People with lipoedema find the swelling inside their legs distorts their standing and walking, which causes pain and difficulties in exercising, reduces mobility and affects their quality of life.


    If we can show the gait distortion of lipoedema is different to the gait of a person who is overweight, then we can raise awareness within obesity clinics of a way to distinguish the conditions and increase referrals of lipoedema patients for treatment.

    By involving podiatry and physiotherapy we would look to see what changes can be made to improve the gait of lipoedema patients, other than surgery. NHS rarely provides surgery so services are limited.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Identify the differences between the gait of people diagnosed with lipoedema and those who are obese


    » carry out research with patients with obesity and patients with lipoedema to analyse their gait and identify differences.

    What success will look like

    Publish a poster at the ILF and publish a journal article on the observations

    Aim 2

    identify options to address gait difficulties in a pilot group of lipoedema patients


    » Review with physiotherapist and podiatrist (plus exercise professionals) several lipoedema people's gait and see what they recommend to improve it
    » Implement recommendations where possible then follow up to see if the gait or their ability to mobilise improves

    What success will look like

    produce recommendations for the people in our pilot/review their individual gait with professionals.

  • Impact


    It will improve the diagnosis of lipoedema and the quality of life of people with lipoedema, by not being misdiagnosed with obesity and by having their lipoedema treated to manage the progression of the condition.

    We will publish the results and seek champions to promote the information within obesity healthcare professionals.


    Getting professional input from podiatrists, physiotherapists etc. We have dealt with that by securing volunteers from those disciplines via our contacts.

    Our research may not evidence statistically significant conclusions; we have discussed as a charity and with healthcare professionals the apparent validity of the topic before proceeding this far and will do a pilot study with a smaller group first.


    We will send them links to the publications and an electronic outcome report at the end of our research, plus updates during the research.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £500 Travel costs of bringing experts together to plan and carry out the research and to review our data
      £500 Consultancy a provision for any statistical analysis or technical consultancy we need and can't get donated
      £500 equipment purchase of equipment for the analysis (an ipad) and any specific equipment like insoles
      £400 publications design and layout on our public reports and emails
      £600 clinic costs costs for engaging obesity clinic input
  • Background


    UK wide (pilot to take place at our national conference and then follow ups as required)


    people with lipoedema - diagnosed and undiagnosed.

    clinicans who are treating obesity and lipoedema to diagnose more appropriately.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Because we are the leading UK charity for lipoedema.

    We have carried out other research into lipoedema so know our members will participate and our healthcare professional members and advisors can help guide our work and connect us to other suitable support and input.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kate Forster

    Co-ordinator. Having studied gait analysis and having lipoedema, to bring together the patient voice and link to researchers.