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Postural stability in diabetic polyneuropathy.

Boucher P, Teasdale N, Courtemanche R, Bard C, Fleury M.

OBJECTIVE--To examine whether sensory changes in lower limbs associated with diabetic sensory polyneuropathy compromise postural stability in different visual sensory conditions. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS--The presence and severity of sensory neuropathy was evaluated with a clinical scale and measures of nerve conduction velocity in the lower limbs. Balance control was evaluated by testing subjects' postural stability (with a force platform) with vision, without vision, and during a recovery period after being without vision. RESULTS--Neuropathic patients showed larger ranges of sway, a faster sway speed, and a greater dispersion of sway than control subjects in all conditions. They also exhibited similar or less stable postural performance with vision than that of control subjects without vision. There was a strong relationship between the severity of the neuropathy and the postural stability. CONCLUSIONS--This experiment highlights that even with vision, the postural stability of neuropathic patients is impaired and may put them at higher risk of falling when performing more challenging daily tasks.

Diabetes Care. 1995 May;18(5):638-45.