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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Bones and Joints

November is American Diabetes Month®, a time to focus the nation's attention on issues surrounding diabetes.

Did you know people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing several bone and joint disorders? Here are some of them:

Charcot Joint

Charcot (shahr-KOH) joint, affecting the feet, occurs when a joint deteriorates because of nerve damage - a common complication of diabetes. Symptoms include numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the affected joints. Treatment includes the use of orthotic supports to the affected jointed and surrounding structures.


Osteoarthritis is a joint disorder characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. People with have type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of osteoarthritis, mostly because of the obesity problems associated with type 2 diabetes. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness, as well as loss of joint flexibility or movement. Treatment involves exercising and maintaining a healthy weight; caring for and resting the affected joint; medications for pain; and in some cases surgery.


Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and prone to fracture and people with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk. Symptoms are silent in the early stages, but once the disease has progressed people experience loss of height, stooped posture or bone fractures. Weight-bearing exercises like walking and eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D are the best ways to reduce additional damage.

Frozen Shoulder

Diabetes is a common risk factor for frozen shoulder, a condition characterized by shoulder pain and limited range of motion. Symptoms include pain or tenderness with shoulder movement, stiffness of the joint, and decreased range of motion. If started early, aggressive physical therapy can help preserve movement and range of motion in the joint.

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