Introduction: Proprioceptive loss in diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients (DPN) seems to cause postural imbalance which may affect quality of functions and activities of daily living of these patients.
Aim: The aim of this study was to compare functional balance in diabetic neuropathic patients and normal subjects.
Methodology: In this casecontrol study, fifteen patients with DPN (which their neuropathy was diagnosed by Diabetic Neuropathy Examination (DNE)) and 15 healthy (gender-, age- and BMI-matched) subjects were evaluated with Berg Balance Scale (BBS), containing 14 balance tests. As well as overall functional balance, five groups of these tests were taken into more consideration in this study, based on the probable effects of proprioceptive loss on various functions. These groups were labeled as: ability to control weight shifting (CWS), ability to transfer (T), and ability to control balance under different base of support (BOS) and visual (V) conditions.
Results: Comparison of two groups showed a significant decrease in BBS, CWS, T, BOS, and V scores in DPN patients relative to healthy control group (P<0.05). There were negative significant (sig. level: 0.001) good to strong correlations between DNE score and BBS, CWS, T, BOS, and V, Scores (Pearsons correlation coefficient: −0.88, −0.91, −0.87, −0.76, and −0.70, respectively) in patients.
Conclusion: DPN results in a remarkable functional imbalance which may expose these patients to danger of falling during activities of daily living and becomes more severe as the severity of neuropathy aggravates. In order to control their balance, DPN patients rely on visual information.