Combined exercise and visual gaze training improves stepping accuracy in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Joseph C. Handsaker, Steven J. Brown, Milos Petrovic, Frank L. Bowling, Satyan Rajbhandari, Dilwyn E. Marple-Horvat, Andrew J.M. Boulton, Neil D. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Patients with diabetes and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) place their feet with less accuracy whilst walking, which may contribute to the increased falls-risk. This study examines the effects of a multi-faceted intervention on stepping accuracy, in patients with diabetes and DPN. Methods: Forty participants began the study, of which 29 completed both the pre and post-intervention tests, 8 patients with DPN, 11 patients with diabetes but no neuropathy (D) and 10 healthy controls (C). Accuracy of stepping was measured pre- and post-intervention as participants walked along an irregularly arranged stepping walkway. Participants attended a one-hour session, once a week, for sixteen weeks, involving high-load resistance exercise and visual-motor training. Results: Patients who took part in the intervention improved stepping accuracy (DPN: +45%; D: +36%) (p < 0.05). The diabetic non-intervention (D-NI) group did not display any significant differences in stepping accuracy pre- to post- the intervention period (−7%). Discussion: The improved stepping accuracy observed in patients with diabetes and DPN as a result of this novel intervention, may contribute towards reducing falls-risk. This multi-faceted intervention presents promise for improving the general mobility and safety of patients during walking and could be considered for inclusion as part of clinical treatment programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107404
JournalJournal of Diabetes and its Complications
Issue number10
Early online date8 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Exercise
  • Eye-tracking
  • Falls
  • Gait
  • Walking


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