While joint pain might not be the first thing you associate with Type 2 Diabetes, the fact is that this condition can lead to aching, discomfort, and other musculoskeletal symptoms. Several diabetes complications and treatments can increase the risk for experiencing these symptoms. Here are some of the known causes of joint pain
associated with diabetes.
Also known as charcot joint, this deterioration of the joints is caused by nerve damage and often occurs in the feet. Neuropathic arthropathy is characterized by tingling and numbness in the affected joints as well as swelling or deformation. This condition can often be treated with weight-bearing exercise and orthotic supports.
Diabetic Hand Syndrome
This complication is caused by a thickening of the skin that eventually limits the movement of the fingers. Eventually, you may be unable to move your hands. However, good blood sugar control and physical therapy can often improve mobility. A similar complication called Dupuytren contracture tends to affect the palm, causing deformity of the entire hand. This usually occurs among people who have had diabetes or metabolic syndrome for a long time.
People with type 1 diabetes are more susceptible to the thinning and weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis. If you're concerned about this comorbidity, preserve your bone density by eating healthy meals with plenty of calcium and Vitamin D as well as performing regular weight-bearing exercise.
In 2015, the FDA advised that certain drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes can cause joint pain. The medications, which are part of a relatively new class called DPP-4 inhibitors, controls blood sugar by boosting the amount of insulin the body produces after a meal. Those who are prescribed DPP-4 inhibitors should tell a healthcare provider immediately if joint pain is present.
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
People with diabetes are more than twice as likely as those without diabetes to develop both types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common comorbidity among those who have type 2 diabetes and are obese. The extra weight puts pressure on the musculoskeletal system, causing pain, swelling, and symptoms in the joints. Controlling obesity often resolves these symptoms. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to also have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy joints. Taking steps to reduce inflammation, including healthy diet and certain types of exercises, can help control the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
This complication is caused by hardening of tendons and ligaments that limits range of motion, often in the spine. Symptoms include stiffness, discomfort, and decreased mobility, but can often be resolved with over-the-counter pain relievers and other lifestyle remedies.
Though the cause of this condition, which limits mobility in one shoulder, is unknown, the presence of diabetes is a common risk factor.
If you've been diagnosed with diabetes or are at high risk for developing this condition, talk with your doctor whenever you experience any unexplained symptoms, including joint and muscle pain.