Joint and Muscle Problems Associated with Diabetes
Connective Tissue Disorders
Tests Your Doctor May Carry Out
Stiff Man’s Syndrome [SMS] Also Known as Stiff Person’s Syndome
Diffuse idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis [DISH]
This is a fairly common condition in the palm of the hand that can cause the fingers to contract. It occurs when the connective tissue under the skin in the palm of the hand begins to thicken and shorten and as the tissue tightens it may pull the fingers down towards the palm of the hand. The first sign is a nodule near the base of the little finger and the ring finger. Gradually other nodules may appear across the first joint of the fingers, the skin puckers and the finger is pulled towards the palm. It usually affects the ring finger first followed by the little, the long and the index fingers but there is evidence that in diabetes, different fingers are affected. The problem is not pain but the restriction of movement. Although again the cause is unknown, there is a genetic link because it affects people of northern European decent. It is seven times more common in men than women and usually does not show up until after 40 years of age. People with diabetes, alcoholics and those taking anticonvulsant drugs have a higher risk of Dupuytren’s contracture.
Treatment – The only treatment is surgery but this is usually only if the contracture has developed into a deformity. The outcome is usually good.