Current Diabetes Reports

, 17:109 | Cite as

Psychological and Biomechanical Aspects of Patient Adaptation to Diabetic Neuropathy and Foot Ulceration

  • Loretta Vileikyte
  • Ryan T. Crews
  • Neil D. Reeves
Microvascular Complications—Neuropathy (R Pop-Busui, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Microvascular Complications—Neuropathy


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review was to elucidate how psychological and biomechanical factors interrelate in shaping patients’ experience with diabetic symmetric polyneuropathy (DSPN) and its sequela-diabetic foot ulceration (DFU).

Recent Findings

Recent findings emphasize the importance not only of neuropathic pain but also of other DSPN symptoms, such as unsteadiness. We highlight the negative spiral between unsteadiness, falls, and psychological distress. Moreover, unsteadiness is a key determinant of non-adherence to offloading resulting in the delayed DFU healing. While depression is an established predictor of incident DFU, findings linking depression and DFU healing remain inconclusive. Examination of physical activity in DFU development and healing represents the most recent application of research to this field.


Research evidence indicates that DSPN markedly impairs physical and emotional functioning and suggests that there is an unmet need for the development of multifaceted interventions that address both psychological distress and biomechanical challenges experienced by patients with this debilitating complication of diabetes.


Diabetic symmetric polyneuropathy Pain Unsteadiness Foot ulcers Depression Illness cognition and emotion Offloading adherence Physical activity 



We thank the NIH (NIDDK R01-DK-071066) for their generous support of some of the studies reported in this review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Loretta Vileikyte and Neil D. Reeves declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ryan T. Crews reports personal fees from Ossur Americas, Inc.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loretta Vileikyte
    • 1
  • Ryan T. Crews
    • 2
  • Neil D. Reeves
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.William M. Scholl College of Podiatric MedicineRosalind Franklin University of Medicine and ScienceNorth ChicagoUSA
  3. 3.School of Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and EngineeringManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

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