Effects of an exercise program on balance and trunk proprioception in older adults with diabetic neuropathies

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2011 Aug;13(8):803-11. doi: 10.1089/dia.2011.0036. Epub 2011 May 11.


Background: Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathies. No definitive treatment for diabetic neuropathies has been reported, and very few studies have been published on the role of exercise in reducing either the symptoms or incidence of diabetic neuropathies.

Methods: This study assessed the effects of an exercise program on balance and trunk proprioception in older adults with diabetic neuropathies. Thirty-eight patients with diabetes having peripheral neuropathies were enrolled, randomized, and subdivided in two groups: an experimental group of 19 participants with diabetes (72.9 ± 5.6 years old) and a control group of 19 participants with diabetes (73.2 ± 5.4 years old). Both groups received health education on diabetes for 50 min/week for 8 weeks. The experimental group practiced an additional balance exercise program for 60 min, two times a week. The exercise training was performed two times per week for 8 weeks. Results were evaluated by both static and dynamic balance and trunk proprioception.

Results: Postural sway significantly decreased (P < 0.05), the one-leg stance test significantly increased (P < 0.05), and dynamic balance from the Berg Balance Scale, Functional Reach Test, Timed Up and Go test, and 10-m walking time improved significantly after balance exercise (P < 0.05). Trunk repositioning errors also decreased with training (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The balance exercise program improved balance and trunk proprioception. These results suggested that a balance exercise is suitable for individuals with diabetic neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology