Among the many health risks that increase for people with diabetes are various conditions that affect bones and joints. While everybody’s bones and joints become weaker and more prone to injury and damage as we age, diabetes and many of the factors that contribute to the condition, such as obesity, nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), and arterial disease, make such problems more likely.
Here are five common bone and joint problems often associated with diabetes:
Also called neuropathic arthropathy, Charcot joint develops when a joint deteriorates due to nerve damage, which is one of the more common complications of diabetes.
This condition primarily affects the feet and may cause numbness and tingling or loss of sensation in the affected joints. They may also become warm, swollen, red, unstable, or deformed.
Early detection and treatment can slow the progression of Charcot joint. Limiting weight-bearing activities and using orthotic supports can help.
Diabetic Hand Syndrome
Also called diabetic cheiroarthropathy, diabetic hand syndrome refers to stiffness that affects the small joints of the hands. As the condition progresses, it increasingly limits finger movement, rendering people unable to fully extend their fingers or press their palms together flat. The condition may affect other joints as well, including those in the shoulders, feet, and ankles.
Better management of blood sugar levels and physical therapy can slow the progress of this condition, but any limited movement that has already occurred may not be reversible.
People who have type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to weaken, thus making them more vulnerable to fractures and breaks. While the early stages of osteoporosis rarely cause symptoms, it can lead to loss of height, stooped posture, or broken bones in its more advanced form.
A healthy lifestyle, including exercise and a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, are the best ways to minimize the effects of osteoporosis. Medications may also be needed to prevent further bone loss or increase bone mass.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disorder that causes joint cartilage to break down. People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, most likely due to obesity — a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes — rather than because of diabetes itself.
Osteoarthritis may cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as loss of joint flexibility or movement. It is often treated through exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, resting the affected joints, physical therapy, and pain medications. Treatment for osteoarthritis may also include surgery such as hip or knee replacements.
Frozen shoulder causes shoulder pain and limits the arms’ range of motion. It typically affects only one shoulder and causes pain or tenderness with shoulder movement and joint stiffness of the joint in addition to decreased range of motion.
Aggressive physical therapy can help preserve movement and range of motion in the joint. A physician may recommend glucocorticoid injections for people with moderate to severe symptoms.
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM
Keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is one of the best ways to minimize complications from diabetes, including bone and joint problems. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is an approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor and keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.