Joint and Muscle Problems Associated with Diabetes

Connective Tissue Disorders
Tests Your Doctor May Carry Out
Frozen Shoulder
Trigger Finger
Dupuytren’s Contracture
Carpel Tunnel
Stiff Man’s Syndrome [SMS] Also Known as Stiff Person’s Syndome
Diffuse idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis [DISH]


Back to Related Health Issues


[diabetic prayer]

This is often called limited joint mobility and in people with diabetes it generally involves the small joints of the hands, although it can affect larger joints such as wrist, shoulder, knees, hips. It is usually painless but numbness and pain may be present if there is also neuropathy or angiopathy of the hand. Most people do not report the problem until there is some deformity or loss of movement of the fingers. The affected fingers are swollen with a thick, tight and waxy skin and there is an inability to press both hands together hence the term, diabetic prayer. Other disorders of the hand, such as carpel tunnel syndrome and Dupuytren’s contracture, have different and distinct clinical features. Cheiroarthropathy is linked with more serious microvascular complications of diabetes eg retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy, so diagnosis is important. The causes of cheiroarthropathy are not really understood.

Treatment – because of the relationship with the microvascular complications of diabetes, improved diabetic control is advised but there is no well established treatment. Physiotherapy is important to maintain movement and prevent further deterioration. Surgery and corticosteriod injections may help in severe cases.


  • 4-14% of the non-diabetic population
  • 8.4- 55% of people with Type 1 diabetes
  • 4.2 -77% of people with Type 2 diabetes

Studies show a wide variation which could be due to genetic or racial factors or incorrect diagnosis. However, it does increase with the duration of diabetes