Effect of exercise on risk factors of diabetic foot ulcers: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Fuyuan Liao, Ruopeng An, Fang Pu, Stephanie Burns, Sa Shen, Yih Kuen Jan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objectives of this study were to examine the effectiveness of different types of exercise on risk factors of diabetic foot ulcers, including glycated hemoglobin, peripheral arterial disease, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and CINAHL were searched from inception to January 2018 for relevant articles. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials that examined effects of exercise on the selected risk factors. Twenty randomized controlled trials with 1357 participants were included in the meta-analyses. The differences in postintervention values of glycated hemoglobin and ankle brachial index between exercise and control groups were synthesized, yielding mean differences of -0.45% (P < 0.00001) and 0.03 (P = 0.002), respectively; the differences in within-group changes in glycated hemoglobin were synthesized, yielding mean differences of -0.19% (P = 0.1), -0.25% (P = 0.0006), and -0.64% (P = 0.006) for aerobic versus resistance, combined versus aerobic, and combined versus resistance exercise, respectively. Exercise has a significant effect on reducing glycated hemoglobin, whereas combined exercise is more effective compared with aerobic or resistance exercise alone. Exercise also improves ankle brachial index. However, evidence regarding the association between exercise and peripheral neuropathy and risks of diabetic foot ulcers in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus remains insufficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019



  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diabetic Foot Ulcers
  • Exercise
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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