Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Diabetic Neuropathies; Postural Balance -- physiology; Geriatric Assessment


Purpose: Balance is affected by visual, somatosensory, proprioceptive, and vestibular input. Anything that alters one of these elements could potentially cause a decrease in postural stability. One disease which reduces the somatosensory input from the foot and ankles is diabetic neuropathy. The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between Type I DM and balance performance, thereby adding to the current knowledge of postural control and the impact, if any, DM has on balance.

Methods: Twenty-five volunteer subjects with Type I DM and 25 age-matched control subjects participated in the study. Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments were used to determine plantar sensation. Following this the Berg Balance Assessment was administered to assess functional balance performance. A Pearson Correlation multiple regression was used to determine the correlation between sensation, DM, and balance performance.

Results: Significance was established between reduced sensation and decreased balance control in both the experimental and control groups. A significant correlation was also found between an increase in age and decreased sensation scores.

Conclusion: Assessing the balance of all patients who are at risk for reduced sensation should be implemented as a screening procedure for determining any decrease in postural stability.