Bone Problems Associated with Diabetes

Like other diseases, diabetes can cause a lot of health complications. One of them involves our bones. How do varying blood sugar levels lead to a series of bone and joint conditions? Read on to learn more.

The inability to manage and control diabetes can result in different medical disorders, and our skeletal system is no exemption. People diagnosed with high blood sugar are at higher risk of various bone disorders, with osteoporosis as one of the most common cases.

The main reason for the development of these bone disorders is unmanaged diabetes. Consider the following:

  • Recurrent spikes in blood sugar levels can stop certain cells from building and producing strong bones.
  • Diabetic kidney damage, which is also a complication of diabetes, can lead to calcium loss. Note that calcium is necessary for strong bones. Without it, the bones can become weak and brittle.
  • Some diabetic medications, especially oral tablets, has a side effect of bone loss.
  • Other diabetes-related complications like nerve damage and poor eyesight can lead to bone accidents and bone fractures.  
  • Aside from the bones, the joints are also affected due to diabetic nerve damage.

Below is the list of bone problems associated with diabetes:

Osteoporosis – This condition is the most common in people with varying blood sugar levels. Although typically diagnosed in older people, this condition can happen to anyone with diabetes. It makes bones weak, which increases the susceptibility of bone breakage and fractures. It can be treated by having a rich supply of calcium and vitamin D.

Osteoarthritis – Known as an inflammation of the joints, this disorder refers to the breakdown of the joint cartilage. It can affect any joint in the body. People who are living with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis later in their life. Its symptoms include loss of movement and flexibility, swelling, and joint pain. Its primary treatment involves having regular physical activities, maintaining healthy body weight, and reducing bodily stress.

Charcot Joint – Also known as neuropathic arthropathy, this condition happens when a joint stops functioning because of nerve damage. It typically occurs in the feet. Its symptoms include numbness in the feet, loss of sensation, swollen joints, and a tingling feeling. If this condition is detected early, the symptoms can be relieved through proper diabetes management. Additionally, orthotic supports can be utilized to assist the affected joint.

Frozen Shoulder – This condition refers to the limited range of motion and movement of the shoulder. It can be painful and causes tenderness on the shoulder. Its main treatment involves therapy, but your healthcare professional can administer glucocorticoid injections to ease the symptoms.

DISH – DISH stands for Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis. It is also known as Forestier disease. This condition refers to the hardening of the ligaments and tendons, which affects the spine. It can result in severe pain and stiffness in the back. To manage this condition, doctors recommend  pain relievers, such as Advil and Tylenol.

Dupuytren’s Contracture – This condition refers to the deformity of the hand. It bends one or more fingers  towards the palm. Dupuytren’s Contracture is due to the scarring and thickening of the connective tissues of the hand, especially the palm and fingers. Its treatment option includes a steroid injection to reduce inflammation.


You can easily prevent diabetes complications like bone and joint problems with correct blood sugar management. You can follow certain routines to ensure your condition is appropriately controlled. These are as follows:

  • Taking oral diabetes medications or regular insulin shots.
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Visiting your healthcare professional for frequent checkups.

All these practices are necessary to ensure your health is well managed and prevent the onset of medical problems that worsen your condition.