Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Common bone & joint issues for diabetics

Diabetics often experience long-term joint damage known as diabetic arthropathy. Unlike pain caused by immediate trauma, the pain of arthropathy happens over time and is most noticeable in the hands and feet. If you have diabetes and notice changes such as thick skin and joint stiffness or pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Doctor consulting with patient in exam room

At first glance you may not see a connection between diabetes and joint pain - after all diabetes is a hormonal condition and hormones don't have much to do with joints. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 percent of people with arthritis also have diabetes. The connection isn't a direct one but that high of a percentage makes many doctors believe the two are related in some fashion.

Charcot's foot and diabetic hand syndrome are two common joint problems for diabetics. Let's review the symptoms of these two issues and how orthopedic treatment may provide relief.

Charcot's Foot

Charcot foot can occur in the one-third of diabetes patients who lose feeling in their feet and other lower extremities, a condition called peripheral neuropathy. In the early stages of Charcot's foot, bones in the foot may weaken and break. If Charcot's isn't diagnosed early, the foot will continue to fracture and can become abnormal in shape.

Symptoms

Many patients don't realize they have Charcot's Foot until it is in the latter stages causing deformity. However, if diagnosed early, Charcot's is highly treatable. Common symptoms include:
  • Numbness and tingling or loss of sensation in the affected joints
  • Painful joints
  • Swelling or redness around the joints
  • Instability in the feet or ankles
  • Swollen or misshapen feet

Orthopedic Treatment Options 

  • Casts to help fractured bones heal 
  • Special orthopedic footwear to protect the feet and add stability
  • Surgery
  • In advanced stages the only treatment available may be amputation
Learn more about the connections between diabetes and joint pain

Diabetic Hand Issues

Diabetics often have issues with excess glucose in their collagen - the protein that makes up tendons, joints, ligaments and connective tissues. Excess glucose causes tissues to thicken which in turn leads to a variety of hand disorders including: carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, limited joint mobility, and Dupuytren's disease (contracture of the hand).

Symptoms

  • Waxy and/or thickened appearance of the skin on your hands
  • Limited finger movement - sometimes the finger is locked in a bent position
  • Numbness and tingling or loss of sensation in the affected joints
  • Lumps or noticeable thickening in the palm

Orthopedic Treatment Options

  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery 

Meet Dr. Ganesh Ramachandran

Logansport Memorial Hospital is pleased to welcome Ganesh Ramachandran, DO to the Logansport Memorial Physician Network. He is an orthopedic surgeon with a special clinical interest in hand surgery. He is joining Dr. Jim Davis as part of LMPN Orthopedics. Dr. Ramachandran is currently accepting patients.

Schedule an appointment: 574-722-2663


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