The effect of foot plantar massage on balance and functional reach in patients with type II diabetes

Physiother Theory Pract. 2017 Feb;33(2):115-123. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2016.1271849. Epub 2017 Jan 17.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of manual foot plantar massage (classic and friction massage) on functional mobility level, balance, and functional reach in patients with type II diabetes mellitus (T2 DM).

Methods: A total of 38 subjects diagnosed with T2 DM were included in the study. A healthy control group could not be formed in this study. After the subjects' socio-demographic data were obtained, Timed Up & Go (TUG) Test, functional reach test (FRT), one-leg standing test with eyes open-closed, and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to measure foot pain intensity were performed. The results were also divided and assessed in three groups according to the ages of the individuals (40-54, 55-64, and 65 and over).

Results: As a result of statistical analysis, a difference was found in the values obtained from TUG, FRT, and one-leg standing test with eyes open and closed (p < 0.05). Following the massage, TUG values significantly decreased comparison with those before the massage, whereas the values of FRT and one-leg standing test with eyes open and closed significantly increased compared with those before the massage (p > 0.05). According to age groups, there were statistical differences (p < 0.05) between the TUG, one-leg standing test with eyes open and closed test values of the individuals before and after the massage.

Conclusions: The results of our study indicated that application of plantar massage to patients with T2 DM caused an improvement in balance, functional mobility, and functional reach values. An increase in body balance and functional mobility may explain the improvement in TUG. Foot massage to be added to rehabilitation exercise programs of DM patients will be important in improving balance and mobility of patients.

Keywords: Balance; diabetes mellitus; foot; plantar cutaneous information; plantar massage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / rehabilitation*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postural Balance*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome