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 common condition which results in a bent finger, as if pulling a trigger on a gun. The finger may be swollen, stiff and painful and there may be a bump over the joint in the palm of the hand. It involves the tendons and pulleys in the hand that bend the finger. The tendons connect the muscles to the forearm with the bones of the finger and each tendon is covered by a sheath. As the fingers are bent, the tendons glide backwards and forwards guided by a restraining pulley. If the tendon sheath becomes inflamed it swells and may develop a nodule or thickening of the tendon. The nodule passes through the pulley as the finger bends but gets stuck as the finger straightens which causes further irritation and swelling until eventually the finger locks in this bent position. The exact cause is unknown. It affects people over 40 and people with a history of diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are particularly at risk of developing it.
Treatment – Aims to reduce the swelling and cycle of irritation so initially treatment is rest, splintering of the finger and taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and pain. If the problem persists a steroid injection in the tendon sheath can relieve the pain and locking for several months. People with diabetes may require surgery to release the tendon and this can restore movement immediately.