Diabetics with previous foot ulcers may be able to participate in walking program

Jan 13, 2009

More than 20 million Americans are living with diabetes, and that number is expected to increase by more than 5 million by 2010. One complication related to diabetes, Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, (DM+PN), can cause individuals to develop foot ulcers and, in extreme cases, amputation might be necessary. Previously, doctors and scientists have recommended that individuals with this complication stay off their feet. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has concluded that individuals with DM+PN might be able to engage in a graduated walking program under close supervision of a medical professional and thus prevent other life threatening illnesses.

Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy is a nerve disorder that mostly affects the legs and feet by causing ulcerations, pain, tingling or even total loss of feeling. Ulcers might occur due to loss of muscle, which would expose the bones to greater pressure under the foot, or to loss of feeling in the foot.

"Physical activity is recommended for people with diabetes because it is proven to reduce the risk of mortality and development of cardiovascular disease," said Joseph LeMaster, an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri. "Individuals with type 2 diabetes can increase their risk of cardiovascular disease by 34 percent and their risk of mortality by 39 percent if they do not participate regularly in some type of moderately intense exercise. People who have diabetes are already less active than most of the population and those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy tend to be even less active."

In the MU study, LeMaster examined the effects of lower-extremity exercise and walking intervention programs on foot ulcer occurrence in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Participants with DM+PN were assigned to one of two groups: an intervention group, which was frequently monitored and assisted through leg strengthening exercises, a graduated walking program and motivational telephone calls every two weeks, and a control group. Both groups received diabetic and regular foot care education and eight sessions with a physical therapist.

During the first six months, LeMaster noted an increase in the total number of minor foot lesions and ulcers. However, at the end of the year, the number of lesions and ulcers in the intervention group had started to decrease compared to the control group, indicating a reduced risk.

"Because weight-bearing activity did not lead to a significant increase in foot ulcers, our study suggests that weight-bearing exercise might be appropriate for people with DM+PN if the patient currently has no foot ulcers, wears proper footwear, and is in a walking program that is well-supervised and safely monitored by a medical professional," LeMaster said.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Saudi announces 11 new MERS infections

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

1 hour ago

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

1 hour ago

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

1 hour ago

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

1 hour ago

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

More news stories

Rising role seen for health education specialists

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...