How to Keep Your Balance with Diabetes

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Summary & Participants

People with diabetes need to take care of yet another thing: their balance. Watch some balance exercises and learn what you can do to keep on your feet.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2012

Webcast Transcript

ANNOUNCER: There may be another thing that people with diabetes need to take care of: their balance. Diabetes can damage important nerves in the legs and feet, making it harder to walk.

RUSSELL PORTENOY, MD: If those nerves get affected, the patient's balance can become impaired and they may fall.

ANNOUNCER: Falls are a leading cause of disability for the elderly. But even middle-age diabetes patients are at risk. To prevent fractured bones from a fall, the key is to go after the cause.

RUSSELL PORTENOY, MD: Patients who have a poor balance as a result of their diabetic nerve injury might get better if they develop a period of better control of the diabetes.

ANNOUNCER: Balance exercises can also help. Jonathan Cane, an exercise physiologist, explains two simple routines that can improve your stability.

JONATHAN CANE: The first exercise we're going to demonstrate is a front knee lift. Al's going to stand with his legs shoulder-width apart, extend the arms out to the side, and lift one leg, aiming to get his knee up and his thigh parallel to the ground. And he'll hold the position, working up to 15 seconds at a time.

The next position that we'll demonstrate starts in the same position, feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended out to the side. And this time it's a side leg lift, with the leg coming out, working up to 45 degrees out to the side, and once again holding for 15 seconds at a time.

ANNOUNCER: Diabetes doesn't have to knock you down. Balance exercises and controlling the disease can keep you on your feet.