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How Can Diabetes Affect My Bone And Joint Health?

Those with diabetes are quite familiar about how it affects their blood sugar, their kidneys, and their eyes and heart. Unfortunately, many are not aware of how diabetes can affect their joints until they are faced with an orthopedic problem.

It is a lesser known consequence of diabetes, and at that point many begin to ask: how can diabetes affect my bone and joint health?

What We Know And Don’t Know

It is clear that diabetes affects bone and joint health, but most researches don’t understand exactly why. The fact is: when you have diabetes, certain orthopedic problems exist, and you are more likely to suffer from them.

Nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy, arterial disease, and if a person is obese, are factors contributing to an increased risk of joint and bone disorders. Nevertheless, the cause is still not understood.

woman suffering from pain in knee at home

Types Of Bone And Joint Disorders

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop arthritis. Uncontrolled diabetes overtime will affect your muscles and skeleton leading to joint pain and nerve damage.

Let’s look at some of the bone and joint disorders which can result from diabetes.

Charcot Joint – Neuropathic Arthropathy

This condition occurs due to nerve damage, and it usually affects the feet. Tingling and numbness are common symptoms accompanied by entire loss of sensation. The foot can be red and swollen and sometimes deformed, but there is little pain.

If treatment begins early, Davidson Family Medicine can slow the progression of the disease.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder causes pain and very limited range of motion usually in only one shoulder. Physical therapy can help, if started early enough.


Osteoarthritis causes the bone cartilage to break down, and it leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness in any joint.

Those with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk due to obesity more than diabetes itself.

Exercise, losing weight, physical therapy, pain meds, and sometimes surgery can help relieve the pain.


Type 1 diabetes is a risk factor for osteoporosis that leads to weak bones and fractures. Advanced cases can cause stooped appearance and loss of height.

Trigger Finger

When you have trigger finger, the fingers can catch when you try to bend them. It is quite common in older patients who have had diabetes for many years.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Common in those who have had diabetes for many years, Dupuytren’s Contracture is a deformity which bends one or more fingers into the palm of the hand.

Managing Diabetes Is Key

In order to preserve bone health, it is essential to manage diabetes. The most effective way is to minimize alcohol consumption, stop smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy body weight, and monitor your blood sugar levels.

Contact Davidson Family Medicine at (704) 892-5454 for treatment if you suspect your joint pain is a result of your diabetes.