Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is the term used to refer to a condition that results in excessive blood glucose or sugar levels. It generally occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or use it effectively. When left unmanaged, high blood sugar levels can cause several complications. One of these complications is joint pain. Signs and symptoms of some diabetes-induced conditions that may cause joint pain include the following:
High blood glucose levels can damage the nerves, causing diabetic neuropathy that can also affect the joints, known as arthropathy. Some conditions that fall under this category include:
This condition affects the foot joints, causing them to deteriorate over time. It may also cause symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, redness, numbness, the area being hot to the touch, or changes in the appearance of the feet.
Some people with diabetes may experience shoulder pain and limited mobility due to a frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. Arthropathy may also affect joints in the hand by causing conditions such as:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This occurs when the median nerve is compressed. It may cause symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand.
- Trigger finger: This condition causes inflammation in the fingers, making it difficult to bend or straighten them. Other symptoms also include pain, numbness, or tingling around the thumb.
- Dupuytren’s Syndrome: Dupuytren’s Syndrome causes nodules under the skin in the hands, which can severely limit mobility. This condition gets worse over time.
This is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints wears down. Those with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing this condition. Some common symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and lack of joint flexibility or movement.
This condition causes bones to become weak, thereby increasing the risk of fractures. It does not cause many symptoms in its early stages. However, later symptoms may include loss of height, stooped posture, and broken bones.
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH)
Also known as Forestier Disease, this condition causes the toughening of tendons and ligaments that affect the spine. Some symptoms include pain, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion.
Although diabetes-related joint pain has no cure, early diagnosis can help better manage symptoms and reduce pain and discomfort.