Diabetic distal symmetric polyneuropathy: Role of physical examination in screening

Rokhsareh Aghili, Mohammad Ebrahim Khamseh, Hamid Reza Baradaran, Seyed Mojtaba Aghili, Mojtaba Malek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP) and the role of physical examination for neuropathy diagnosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from 2009 to 2010. A total of 107 patients with type 2 diabetes were evaluated using the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI). MNSI consists of two parts: History and physical assessment. History was focused on positive (burning, tingling) and negative (numbness) sensory symptoms, cramps and muscle weakness, foots ulcers or cracks, and prior diagnoses of diabetic neuropathy by a physician. Physical assessment was determined from foot appearance, ulceration, ankle reflexes, vibratory perception and monofilament testing. Results: A total of 72 women and 35 men were participated in this study. The frequency of neuropathy diagnosed based on physical assessment was 78.5%. The mean age was 57.6 (± 10.2) and the mean duration of diabetes was 10.2 (± 7.3) years. Ankle reflexes were not observed in both both foot in 67% of patients. Vibration perception was absent in 25% of patients. Monofilament testing was normal in 86% of patients in both feet. Conclusion: The results showed a key role of physical examination in diagnosis of DSP in diabetic patients. The high frequency of DSP among diabetic patients demonstrated the importance of annual screening, further evaluations, planning and management of patients in diabetic foot clinics. However, considering the results of this study, the sensitivity of monofilament test in screening of DSP is questionable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic polyneuropathy
  • Physical examination
  • Screening


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