A patient is diagnosed with diabetes when their body cannot produce adequate insulin to control their blood sugar. It can also develop when you can no longer utilize the hormone properly.
The inability to create and process insulin correctly causes diabetes-linked complications, including orthopedic issues. For instance, diabetic people are more prone to joint diseases, nerve damage, and bone complications.
Here are seven orthopedic issues linked to diabetes:
1. Diabetic Hand Syndrome
Also called diabetic cheiroarthropathy, diabetic hand syndrome results in limited joint mobility in the hands. It causes small joints to become stiff, limiting finger movement.
Those who experience it cannot press their palms flat together and extend their fingers fully. The skin on the hands may also become thicker and feel waxy. It can also spread to the ankles, feet, and shoulder joints.
Once patients begin to experience limited finger mobility, doctors recommend physical therapy and proper blood glucose level management. These steps can slow down the progression of the symptoms.
2. Charcot’s Foot
Another joint-related condition linked to diabetes is Charcot’s foot or Charcot’s joint. It’s sometimes called diabetic foot, as well.
This orthopedic issue occurs when foot joints deteriorate and cause recurring pain. The deterioration usually results from pressure continually exerted on the affected body part.
In more severe cases, damage to the foot nerves may also happen, causing numbness. Many patients who experience this tend to twist their ligaments unknowingly and develop wounds or ulcers that they don’t feel, thus are easy to ignore. This can eventually lead to worsening wounds and infection.
Patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are more prone to osteoporosis. It’s a condition that causes bones to weaken and become more susceptible to fractures.
The symptoms include broken bones, stooped or humped posture, and a noticeable decrease in height.
Doctors recommend regular exercise, a balanced diet, and an intake of vitamin D and calcium supplements to manage this condition. Providers may also prescribe medication to increase bone mass in severe cases.
Osteoarthritis is an orthopedic disorder caused by the thinning of joint cartilage in the body. Type 2 diabetics are prone to it, especially if they are significantly overweight.
The main symptoms are joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Loss of mobility, movement, and flexibility may also happen.
Treatment for osteoarthritis includes regular physical activity to lose weight and maintain healthy body mass. Physical therapy and prescription medication may also help.
In addition, proper rest will allow the affected joint to recuperate. Some patients also find acupuncture an excellent alternative treatment for dealing with pain.
5. Frozen Shoulder
Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It creates a loss of mobility and decreased flexibility in one or both shoulders.
Diabetic people with this orthopedic issue are usually encouraged to begin early treatment. An aggressive physical therapy plan can help improve shoulder movement.
In more progressive cases, your doctor may administer glucocorticoid injections to relieve symptoms.
6. Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH)
Forestier disease, or diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), mainly affects the spine. The tendons and ligaments in the vertebrae become hardened when it is present.
Patients with type 2 diabetes are more prone to DISH because of insulin-related growth factors. Spinal pain, immobility, and stiffness are the most noticeable symptoms of this disorder. Sometimes, even the neck is severely affected.
To manage DISH, your physician may prescribe over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. They may also recommend corticosteroid injections to deal with more intense pain.
7. Dupuytren’s Contracture
Dupuytren’s contracture may result from metabolic changes linked to diabetes. It primarily causes a patient’s fingers to become abnormally bent towards the palm.
You basically experience significant scarring and thickening of your palm’s connective tissues. The inability to extend or straighten the fingers eventually happens as the disease progresses.
Steroid and collagenase enzyme injections can help minimize swelling and pain. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called aponeurotomy. It alleviates pain by breaking apart the thickened tissues in the palm and fingers.
The Best Orthopedic Care In Port Charlotte & Punta Gorda, FL
Diabetic patients have a higher risk of experiencing orthopedic issues. The inability to produce and process insulin correctly may cause several joint conditions in different body parts. These include diabetic hand syndrome, Charcot’s foot, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, DISH, and Dupuytren’s contracture. Treatment options for these orthopedic conditions are physical therapy, surgery, and medication.
The Advanced Orthopedic Center offers comprehensive orthopedic care for all our patients. Among our skilled team of orthopedic specialists is Dr. Lee James, DO. He is board-certified and trained in treating a variety of joint-related issues, including conditions that may have resulted from diabetes. Dr. James is highly competent at administering joint injections, nerve blocks, and minimally invasive decompression.