Bone and Joint Problems with Diabetes

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:

Charcot joint

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

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.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading