How Diabetes Can Lead to Tendon Damage

If you have diabetes and pain when moving, it may be a tendon problem. They are rope belts that connect muscles and bones. The high blood sugar levels that accompany the disease can exacerbate tendon problems.

You have tendons all over your body, including your shoulders, arms, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. They transfer the power of your muscles to your bones so that you can move. If your diabetes is not controlled, your tendons will thicken and rupture more easily.

How does diabetes hurt my tendons?

Tendon injuries in type 1 and type 2 diabetes are caused by substances called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

They are formed when protein or fat is mixed with sugar in the blood. Normally, your body produces AGE at a slow, steady rate. But when you have diabetes, the extra sugar in your blood will increase your speed and affect your tendons.

Tendons are made of a protein called collagen. AGEs form a combination with it, which can change the structure of tendons and affect their functions.

 For example, they may become thicker than normal and may not be able to support as much weight as before.

As a result, your chances of tearing one of your tendons increase. If you do not control diabetes, some tendon problems you may experience include:

Frozen shoulder: Stiffness and pain occur when the sacs of the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints thicken.

Rotator cuff tear: Damage to the tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint, including the supraspinatus.

Trigger finger: Your finger bends and straightens, making a clicking sound, like the sound of pulling a trigger.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: You will feel numbness, tingling, and weakness in your wrist due to pressure on the nerves passing through the carpal tunnel.

Dupuytren’s contracture: The tissue under the skin of the hand thickens, causing the fingers to bend toward the palm.

Tendon injuries are painful and can make it difficult to move the joints. Even if you have surgery to repair the damage, the tendon may break again.

Studies have shown that more than one-third of diabetic patients undergoing repair surgery for a rotator cuff tear will have the problem again.

How can tendon damage affect my diabetes?

Exercise is important to help control diabetes, but when your tendons are sore and stiff, you may find it more difficult to exercise.

This limited exercise forces you to put extra pressure on the midfoot with every step, which increases the risk of foot ulcers.

Discuss with your doctor how to ensure that your blood sugar levels are kept low when you recover from tendon problems.

How can I prevent and treat tendon damage?

The best way to avoid tendon problems is to control diabetes. Lower blood sugar with the help of diet, exercise, and drugs.

 If you are overweight, you need to try to lose a few pounds. It will improve your health while reducing pressure on your tendons. If you have already had a tendon injury, consult your doctor about the following treatments:

  • Pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physiotherapy and exercises
  • Hot compresses or ice compresses
  • Splints to keep the joints stable while the tendons are healing .

Your doctor may also recommend injections of steroids in the joints to relieve tendon problems. Please note that steroids can cause your blood sugar levels to spike in the short term. Ask your doctor if the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks.

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