Foot bone density in diabetes may be unaffected by the presence

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Publication details

Barwick, AL, Tessier, JW, Janse de Jonge, X & Chuter, VH 2016, 'Foot bone density in diabetes may be unaffected by the presence', Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications, vol. 30, pp. 1087-1092.

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Neuropathies are common complications of diabetes and are proposed to influence peripheral bone, principally via an altered vascular supply. This study aimed to determine the relationship between subtypes of neuropathy and vascular reactivity on foot bone density in people with diabetes.


A case–control observational design was utilised with two groups: those with diabetic peripheral large fibre neuropathy (n = 23) and a control group with diabetes but without neuropathy (n = 23). Bone density in 12 foot bones was determined with computed tomography scanning. Additionally, post-occlusive reactive hyperemia, presence of small fibre neuropathy and heart rate variability were determined. T-tests and hierarchical regression were used to examine the relationships among the variables.


No difference in foot bone density was found between those with and those without large fibre neuropathy. Furthermore, no association between heart rate variability or reactive hyperemia and bone density was found. Small fibre neuropathy was associated with increased cuboid trabecular bone density (p = 0.006) with its presence predictive of 14% of the variance.


This study found no clear association between presence of diabetic neuropathies and foot bone density. Furthermore, vascular reactivity appears to have no impact on bone density.

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