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Vibrating Insoles Helpful in Diabetic Neuropathy

About one-third of diabetes mellitus patients are diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy or a condition that causes pain and numbness in the hands and feet. It also brings balance problems and unsteadiness when walking.

A study from the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development revealed that vibrating insoles could actually help improve standing in persons with peripheral neuropathy when attention was distracted and vision was occluded. Participating subjects,whose ages ranged from 40-60, were requested to use vibrating insoles that is set to apply random vibrations to the plantar surface of the feet by piezoelectric elements. These elements are thin and relatively cheap making it ideal for insole application.

Subjects were evaluated under four different conditions—with eyes open or closed, and with or without an attention-demanding task. The researchers found that non-disabled subjects were not affected by the vibrations. The study concluded that the use of vibrating insoles powered by piezoelectric elements could increase stability in persons with neuropathy when compensatory strategies to control balance are limited.

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