Physical Therapy for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Narrative Review

Nizar Abdul Majeed Kutty, Mohammed Abdul Razzaq Jabbar, Sura Sreenivasulu


Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is the most common complication of diabetes mellitus in both developed and developing countries. It is found in about 10% of diabetic clients at diagnosis, and in the majority of clients 25 years down the line. Clients with pre-diabetes may also develop neuropathies that are similar to diabetic neuropathies. Long-term hyperglycemia can cause peripheral nerve damage, resulting in distal-predominant nerve fibre degeneration. Loss of feeling in the lower limbs is a high risk for limb amputation. Despite efforts to make an early diagnosis and to halt the progression of diabetic neuropathy, currently there is no effective treatment available at a global level, except for strict control of blood glucose.

Physical therapy can improve the overall quality of life of diabetes mellitus clients with peripheral neuropathy and can alleviate the symptoms of neuropathy. This paper assesses the effectiveness of interventions used by physical therapists to minimise dysfunctions in people with DPN. It reviews the different treatment strategies and presents evidence and conditions for its applications.


Diabetic Neuropathy; Physical therapy; Pain; Aerobic exercise; Balance

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