Changes in your musculoskeletal system can be caused by diabetes. Your bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles might be affected. It is essential to watch for symptoms involving your feet, fingers, wrists, hands, shoulders, spine or neck.
- Be aware of symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions related to diabetes such as joint stiffness, swelling or pain and limited range of motion. You may experience muscle aches or a “pins and needles” feeling in your arms and legs or feet.
- Factors leading to joint and bone disorders include circulation problems, nerve damage, obesity and muscle shrinking. Maintain a regular exercise routine and watch your weight to ward off potential bone and joint problems.
- Charcot’s joint is a bone disorder of the feet. When a joint deteriorates due to nerve damage, the structure of the foot starts to collapse and can result in deformities. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, swelling, loose joints and open sores. Proper diabetes foot care is important. Use diabetes foot powder to keep feet dry. Wear diabetic socks that do not restrict your circulation. Use foot cream on dry areas to avoid cracks or ulcerations never on open sores. Make sure you are being followed by a podiatrist and wearing sturdy diabetic shoes with wide toe boxes.
- Diabetic hand syndrome occurs when the skin on your hands becomes thick and tight. Symptoms include waxy skin and limited joint mobility in the fingers. Maintain proper blood sugar levels to avoid or treat this disorder.
- Osteoporosis causes your bones to get brittle and weak. People with diabetes are susceptible because they may have lower than normal bone density. Activities such as coughing or bending can lead to fractures. Symptoms include loss of height, back pain, stooped posture and fractured bones. Eating calcium-rich foods helps keep your bones stronger as well as resistance training or weight lifting.
- Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is a breakdown of joint cartilage anywhere in the body. Symptoms include pain, stiffness or swelling, bone or joint enlargement and limited flexibility. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for this disorder. Proper weight control is recommended as obesity puts extra stress on your joints.
- Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) happens when ligaments and tendons attach to a bone. Insulin-like growth factors may promote new bone growth and cause DISH. There are no definitive symptoms but you may experience stiffness in the back or neck. If you are obese, losing weight helps.
- Frozen shoulder affects more people with diabetes than those without diabetes. The shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful. Symptoms include pain when moving the shoulder and limited range of motion. Often the condition goes away on its own or may require physical therapy.
- Many conditions are successfully addressed with treatments such as physical therapy, steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications. Steroids can increase blood sugar readings. Always discuss symptoms with your doctors to determine the treatment and avoid future complications. Always maintain proper blood sugar control to prevent any complications.
People with diabetes are may be more likely to develop bone and joint problems. It is essential to control weight gain, exercise regularly and take proper care of your feet. Try to report pain, stiffness or other related symptoms to your health care provider immediately to prevent further problems.