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Diabetic Neuropathy: Exercising Safely


Regular exercise may help manage your diabetes, which can reduce your risk of severe diabetic neuropathy. If you have nerve damage, you may need to avoid certain exercises to stay safe.

Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program. Autonomic neuropathy may increase your risk of having heart, blood pressure, or body temperature problems during exercise. Your doctor can help you plan an exercise program that is safe and works for you.

Have your doctor check your legs and feet for signs of peripheral neuropathy. If you have nerve damage in your feet, avoid repetitive, weight-bearing exercises, such as long walks or runs. This type of exercise can cause ulcers, fractures, and joint problems. Make sure you have properly fitted shoes to protect your feet from injury. Try to choose exercises that don't put stress on your feet, such as:

  • Swimming.
  • Bicycling.
  • Rowing.
  • Seated exercises.
  • Arm and upper-body exercises.
  • Other non-weight-bearing exercises.

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Current as of: October 2, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.


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