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Peoples’ experiences of painful diabetic neuropathy: A qualitative interview study

McCabe, Candy; Cramp, Fiona; Gauntlett-Gilbert, Jeremy; Davies, Ben


Candy McCabe
Professor of Clinical Research and Practice

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions

Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert

Ben Davies


Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is a common complication of diabetes. This study explored the experience and impact of living with PDN.
People with PDN were recruited through local NHS clinics and by national advertisement in diabetes support publications and social media forums. Semi-structured interviews were conducted either in person or by telephone. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Twenty-three people (12 female, 13 with Type-2 diabetes; 22 identified as White British) were interviewed who had PDN symptoms for mean 10 years (range 1-24 years). Four superordinate themes were identified from the data: Theexperience of living with PDN, Affects those around me, A range of negative emotions and Life is a constant challenge.
People with PDN experience a wider range of impacts than those previously reported in research literature, for example: embarrassment, anger, altered diet, reduced intimacy and social isolation. Whilst further research is warranted with a diverse ethnic sample the findings indicate that the wide-ranging impact of PDN on quality of life needs to be recognised in clinical practice and incorporated into future research.


McCabe, C., Cramp, F., Gauntlett-Gilbert, J., & Davies, B. (2021). Peoples’ experiences of painful diabetic neuropathy: A qualitative interview study. Pain and Rehabilitation, 50, 14-21

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 4, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 26, 2021
Journal Pain and Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 2051-0047
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Pages 14-21
Edition 2021
Keywords diabetes, neuropathy, chronic pain, quality of life, qualitative research
Public URL
Publisher URL


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