Effects of a task-based biofeedback training program on improving sensorimotor function in neuropathic hands in diabetic patients: A randomized controlled trial

Li Chieh Kuo, Chien Ju Yang, Cheng Feng Lin, I. Ming Jou, Yi Ching Yang, Chien Hsien Yeh, Chih Chun Lin, Hsiu Yun Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Symptoms of diabetic hands have been gradually elucidated, however the interventions for these hand problems are typically underemphasized. Few studies have discussed intervention effects on sensorimotor problems in hands, which prevent diabetic patients from executing their daily routines and lower their quality of life (QoL). AIM: This study has investigated the effects of task-based biofeedback training compared with home-based programs on sensorimotor function and QoL in diabetic patients with neuropathic hands. DESIGN: A single blind randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Outpatient clinic at a university hospital. POPULATION: Thirty-eight patients with diabetic hand neuropathy whose sensorimotor functions were impaired based on screening with a pinch-holding-up activity (PHUA) test. METHODS: Participants were randomly assigned to either a computerized evaluation and re-education biofeedback (CERB) (N.=20) or a home-based (tendon gliding exercise in conjunction with resistive exercise) (N.=18) group. The primary outcome was sensorimotor control of a hand using the PHUA test. Secondary outcomes included changes in Semmes-Weinstein monofilament, two-point discrimination, the Purdue Pegboard test and a self-reported QoL questionnaire. The measurements were conducted before and after a 6-week treatment program. RESULTS: The CERB group significantly improved efficiency in pinch force output during the PHUA test by reducing the percentage of maximum pinch strength (change from 34.5±11.66 to 30.7±10.16%, P=0.001), and there was a statistically significant between-group difference (P=0.00, 95% CI: -12.59 to -3.34, F=9.42). The CERB group showed superior treatment effects as compared to the control group on the two-point discrimination results (P=0.01) as well as the pin insertion subtests in the Purdue pegboard test (P=0.01). The QoL results also revealed significant between-group differences in several items of the Diabetes-39 (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that a task-based biofeedback training program provides superior benefits for restoration of hand sensorimotor functioning in diabetic patients as compared to a home-based program combining tendon gliding exercise and resistive exercise. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Using task-based biofeedback training as one of the rehabilitation strategies may be an effective approach for restoration of sensory function, precision pinch performance, hand dexterity, and QoL for patients with diabetes-related neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-626
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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