Weight-bearing versus nonweight-bearing exercise for persons with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy: A randomized controlled trial

Michael J. Mueller, Lori J. Tuttle, Joseph W. Lemaster, Michael J. Strube, Janet B. McGill, Mary K. Hastings, David R. Sinacore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effects of weight-bearing (WB) versus nonweight-bearing (NWB) exercise for persons with diabetes mellitus (DM) and peripheral neuropathy (PN). Design: Randomized controlled trial with evaluations at baseline and after intervention. Setting: University-based physical therapy research clinic. Participants: Participants with DM and PN (N=29) (mean age ± SD, 64.5±12.5y; mean body mass index [kg/m2] ± SD, 35.5±7.3) were randomly assigned to WB (n=15) and NWB (n=14) exercise groups. All participants (100%) completed the intervention and follow-up evaluations. Interventions: Group-specific progressive balance, flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercise conducted sitting or lying (NWB) or standing and walking (WB) occurred 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Measures included the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) and daily step counts. Secondary outcome measures represented domains across the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Results: The WB group showed greater gains than the NWB group over time on the 6MWD and average daily step count (P<.05). The mean and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between-group difference over time was 29m (95% CI, 6-51) for the 6MWD and 1178 (95% CI, 150-2205) steps for the average daily step count. The NWB group showed greater improvements than the WB group over time in hemoglobin A1c values (P<.05). Conclusions: The results of this study indicate the ability of this population with chronic disease to increase 6MWD and daily step count with a WB exercise program compared with an NWB exercise program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-838
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exercise
  • Rehabilitation


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