Do we underestimate influences of diabetic mononeuropathy or polyneuropathy on hand functional performance and life quality?

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The purpose of the present study was to identify whether there are differences in hand dexterity, hand functional performance and quality of life between diabetes patients with mononeuropathy and polyneuropathy of their hands to further present the importance regarding the impacts of diabetic neuropathic deficits on patients’ functional capacity.

Materials and Methods

The neurological deficits of 127 patients with type 2 diabetes were examined by electrophysiological tests for the median and ulnar nerves, and were stratified into the diabetic mononeuropathy, diabetic polyneuropathy and non-diabetic neuropathy groups by sensory amplitude of these nerves. The Purdue pegboard test, Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, and Diabetes-39 were carried out to understand patients’ hand dexterity, functional hand performance and quality of life, respectively.


The results showed significant differences in all subtests of the Purdue pegboard test among the three groups. Furthermore, aesthetics, patient's satisfaction of the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire and diabetes control, sexual functioning, energy, and mobility of the Diabetes-39 also showed significant differences among the three groups.


The present study shows the patients with polyneuropathy suffer from more negative impacts on hand functional performance and quality of life than those with mononeuropathy and without neuropathy. These findings might assist both patients and clinicians in better realizing the impacts of neuropathic hands, and planning suitable strategies of intervention or health education to prevent declines in hand functions.

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