INTRODUCTION: Peripheral neuropathy occurs in two thirds of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). It can lead to severe pathological changes in the feet, and it increases the risk of fracture more than any other diabetic complication. The objective of this review is to analyze available literature on the effect of peripheral neuropathy on BMD of the foot, spine, or hip. We hypothesize that the presence of diabetic neuropathy leads to lower BMD in adults with diabetes. METHODS: Original studies investigating the effects of diabetic neuropathy on bone density were searched for inclusion in this systematic review. Studies were eligible if they met the following criteria: 1) participants included adults with either Type 1 DM or Type 2 DM; 2) Method used for the diagnosis of neuropathy described in the manuscript 3) DXA scan, ultrasound, or CT scan was used to measure proximal femur, spine, or foot bone mineral density were reported, and 4) bone parameters were analyzed based on the presence and absence of neuropathy. RESULTS: Among the 5 studies that met eligibility criteria, 4 did not find a significant effect of neuropathy on BMD. One study showed a significant negative impact of neuropathy on calcaneal BMD in patients with type 1 diabetes. The meta-analysis did not show a significant effect of peripheral neuropathy on BMDs of proximal femur, spine, and calcaneus in diabetic adults. CONCLUSION: Our study shows no evidence that peripheral neuropathy affects bone density or bone turnover in DM. However, this conclusion should be taken with caution since only a very limited number of studies were available for inclusion in the analysis and included both type 1 and type 2 DM patients. Improved measures of peripheral neuropathy and more advanced imaging technologies are needed to better assess the effect of diabetes on bone health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115932
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Bone mineral density
  • DXA scan
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Neuropathy


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