In the long term, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to different health complications. It can affect your muscles, skeleton, and other bodily functions. One of these complications is joint pain. Its symptoms involve nerve damage and arthritis.

Joint pain refers to the inflammation and discomfort from any part of the joints. It includes pain in the cartilage, bone, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. It is commonly known as arthritis or arthralgia. This condition can be mild; however, it can cause tension and soreness within the affected areas. It limits your ability to move, which may also negate your daily activities.

In what ways can diabetes cause joint pain?

Diabetes can impair the musculoskeletal system. This complication happens if effective diabetes treatment is missing. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels restrict joint movement, which is already a sign of joint damage. Diabetes can also damage the functions of the nerves and blood vessels. The condition can lead to abnormal bodily movements, especially that of the hands.

Besides the musculoskeletal system problems, another diabetes-related disease can also develop in the joint areas. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy. It involves damage to the nerve, leading to numbness in the extremities of the feet and ankles.

Frequently, a person with diabetes can no longer feel any sensation in the affected areas when diabetic neuropathy occurs. In worst cases, this condition can also lead to physical deformities.

The signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are:

  • Inflammation in the joints
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Swollen hands, feet, and legs
  • Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Fever or chills
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment and prevention

There are different ways to treat joint pains. One of these includes the usage of anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. This medicine reduces inflammation and intense pain in the joints. However, this medicine may only be safe for short-term use. If your condition persists, discuss alternative treatment with your doctor. In severe cases, you may need orthotics or braces for support.

Treating the pre-existing condition that causes joint pain is also an option. Since diabetes causes this disorder, managing your blood sugar levels is key. For people with type 1 diabetes, taking insulin shots is a must. For those living with type 2 diabetes, following their daily diabetes medication will improve their condition. All these methods can help prevent severe joint pain.


The key to preventing diabetes-related complications is to manage your diabetes properly. Living a stress-free life is possible by following a proper prescribed diet, exercising daily, and observing diabetes medications accurately.