Diabetes joints are a condition that affects individuals with diabetes who develop profuse musculoskeletal changes in their muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These vast changes can cause impairment and affect an individual’s hands, feet, arms, legs, wrists, shoulders, knees, and spine. As a result, the individual can experience pain, stiffness, throbbing tingling, or numbness in any of these extremities.

About 75% of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus will encounter some form of diabetes joints and related conditions due to the nerve damage, or neuropathy that is associated with having prolonged episodes of high blood glucose levels. When the diabetic’s insulin function is deficient or impaired, the body is unable to transfer sugar out of the bloodstream and into muscles, tissue, and other cells for use as fuel. The excess sugar remains in the blood where it can wreak havoc on blood vessels and all of the cells that are supplied blood. Joints are no exception.


Diabetes Joints – Types of Diabetes Joints


Some associated conditions of diabetes jointsinclude Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Charcot joint, and DISH. Carpel tunnel syndrome occurs when changes to the skin cause tissues to thicken, scar, or tighten. Most people experience this syndrome in the hands and wrists and is can be complicated by repetitive motion, such as typing. Charcot joint is nerve damage to the feet resulting in numbness and tingling. Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis, or DISH occur when ligaments and tendons harden, which can cause a tender or stiff neck, back, and spine.

Other common conditions include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and frozen shoulder. Osteoarthritis causes joint inflammation from repetitive motion or from being in one position for long periods. Osteoporosis can cause bone loss, enabling bone fractures and a hunched stature. Frozen shoulder is characterized by pain in one shoulder. The individual will have stiffness, tenderness, and limited range of movement.

Diabetics may also experience Diabetic Hand Syndrome and Dupuytren Contracture. Diabetic Hand Syndrome occurs when the hands take on a waxy, thick appearance and cannot move as needed. Dupuytren Contracture also affects the hands by thickening the skin, but differs because if it is not treated,this condition can disfigurepersons’ hands.


Diabetes Joints – Treatment


Treating diabetes joints can be done through different therapies such as massage, topical creams, and over the counter pain medications. Some diabetics find the use of glucosamine very helpful in controlling their pain. Glucosamine is a dietary supplement used to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints that can be purchased without a prescription

Physical activity is already advised for diabetics in controlling their blood glucose levels, but doctors recommend exercise in order to alleviate symptoms of diabetes joints as well. Medical professionals suggest no less than thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise in addition to performing resistance training and weight bearing exercises on a daily basis. These activities keep the muscles strong and enable joint support. In addition, the joints and ligaments become flexible which can increase movement while eliminating pain.


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