A focused exercise regimen improves clinical measures of balance in patients with peripheral neuropathy

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Feb;82(2):205-9. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2001.19742.


Objective: To determine the effect of a specific exercise regimen on clinical measures of postural stability and confidence in a population with peripheral neuropathy (PN).

Design: Prospective, controlled, single blind study.

Setting: Outpatient clinic of a university hospital.

Participants: Twenty subjects with diabetes mellitus and electrodiagnostically confirmed PN.

Intervention: Ten subjects underwent a 3-week intervention exercise regimen designed to increase rapidly available distal strength and balance. The other 10 subjects performed a control exercise regimen.

Main outcome measures: Unipedal stance time, functional reach, tandem stance time, and score on the activities-specific balance and confidence (ABC) scale.

Results: The intervention subjects, but not the control subjects, showed significant improvement in all 3 clinical measures of balance and nonsignificant improvement on the ABC scale.

Conclusion: A brief, specific exercise regimen improved clinical measures of balance in patients with diabetic PN. Further studies are needed to determine if this result translates into a lower fall frequency in this high-risk population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ankle / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome