Keeping you Body Wise: Diabetes

by admin November 2, 2010

American Diabetes Month – November 2010

In the U.S., almost 24 million children and adults have diabetes, and 57 million are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. This November, American Diabetes Month, The Orthopaedic Institute (TOI) would like to raise awareness about common orthopaedic conditions linked to diabetes.


People with diabetes struggle with multiple health concerns, including those that affect the joints and limbs. Dr. Phillip L. Parr, Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, practices in TOI’s Gainesville clinic and sees many patients with diabetes. There are two major conditions, which are often associated with diabetes, that he witnesses: frozen shoulder and Charcot’s joint.


Frozen shoulder is a condition identified by pain, stiffness and decreased motion of the shoulder and occurs more frequently in those with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, frozen shoulder affects approximately 20 percent of people with diabetes, compared with 5 percent of people without diabetes.


“Frozen shoulder is more difficult to treat in diabetics,” Dr. Parr said. “Most frozen shoulders are seen in women, but when it is seen in men, it is usually because they have diabetes.”


For treatment, Dr. Parr recommends six to eight weeks of physical therapy. Frozen shoulder rarely requires surgical treatment, but if physical therapy does not help, the patient may be sedated to manipulate the joint and break up adhesions. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to clean out the rotator cuff.


In addition to frozen shoulder, Dr. Parr also sees patients suffering from Charcot’s joint as a result of diabetes. Charcot’s joint is a product of neuropathy, a nervous system impairment that causes a loss of feeling in the hands or feet.


“Charcot’s joint is very serious,” Dr. Parr said. “It is a runaway degenerative arthritis, which causes the foot to collapse and deform.”


In the initial stages of Charcot’s joint, Dr. Parr recommends arch support, wearing special shoes that offer total contact and spread the weight on the entire foot. Regardless, if you suspect having Charcot’s joint, you should see a physician immediately.


If you have diabetes, it is important to always monitor your feet. When injuries go unnoticed, it can be extremely dangerous. Diabetes decreases blood flow, slowing down the healing process of injuries. Therefore, a simple, unnoticed blister can easily become seriously infected.


To find out more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association at



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