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: A common complication of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is peripheral neuropathy, which may decrease sensory input. The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between decreased sensation and balance performance.

Methods: Fifty subjects, 25 experimental with Type I DM and 25 control, were recruited from the community. Sensory response was tested with Semmes-Weinstein Monofilaments, and the Berg Balance Measure to assess balance performance. The Pearson correlation and Multiple Regression were performed to study the relationship between DM and balance.

Results: Significance was established between age and 4.31 monofilament response score and the dependent variable, Berg Balance Score. The monofilament score contributed the greatest amount to the prediction equation with a positive beta coefficient of .662; with a higher amount of responses to the monofilament, a higher score on the Berg balance scale can be predicted. Age contributes to the prediction equation to a lesser degree with a negative beta coefficient; as age increases, the Berg balance score is predicted to decrease.

Conclusion: Based on the assumption that neuropathy leads to decreased balance, and that diminished balance increases an individual's risk of falling, our results have shown that the Berg Balance Assessment, used in conjunction with the monofilaments, would be clinically useful in screening a patient with DM for risk of falls.