Sensory manifestations of diabetic neuropathies: Anatomical and clinical correlations

Mohamed Kazamel, Peter J. Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Diabetes mellitus is among the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy worldwide. Sensory impairment in diabetics is a major risk factor of plantar ulcers and neurogenic arthropathy (Charcot joints) causing severe morbidity and high health-care costs. Objective: To discuss the different patterns of sensory alterations in diabetic neuropathies and their anatomical basis. Study design: Literature review. Methods: Review of the literature discussing different patterns of sensory impairment in diabetic neuropathies. Results: The different varieties of diabetic neuropathies include typical sensorimotor polyneuropathy (lower extremity predominant, length-dependent, symmetric, sensorimotor polyneuropathy presumably related to chronic hyperglycemic exposure, and related metabolic events), entrapment mononeuropathies, radiculoplexus neuropathies related to immune inflammatory ischemic events, cranial neuropathies, and treatment-related neuropathies (e.g. insulin neuritis). None of these patterns are unique for diabetes, and they can occur in nondiabetics. Sensory alterations are different among these prototypic varieties and are vital in diagnosis, following course, treatment options, and follow-up of treatment effects. Conclusions: Diabetic neuropathies can involve any segment of peripheral nerves from nerve roots to the nerve endings giving different patterns of abnormal sensation. It is the involvement of small fibers that causes positive sensory symptoms like pain early during the course of disease, bringing subjects to physician's care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Diabetic entrapment neuropathies
  • Diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy
  • Diabetic neuropathies
  • Diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation


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