February 3


How is Diabetes Related to Tendon Pain?

By Gabriela

February 3, 2021

When a person with diabetes feels pain whenever they move, it may be a sign of issues with the tendons. But, what are tendons?

They are actually cord-like bands that connect the muscles to the bones. The high blood glucose levels which go together with the condition have a role when it comes to stirring up the tendon trouble.

We have tendons all over the body and this includes our ankles, shoulders, knees, arms, hips, and wrists. The tendons transfer the force from the muscles to the bones and allow us to move.

In case our blood glucose levels are not under control, the tendons might thicken, and they can tear.

How Does Diabetes Affect the Tendons?

The tendon damage in those with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes occurs because of the substances called AGEs, i.e., advanced glycation end products.

These substances form when fat, or maybe protein, mixes with glucose in the bloodstream.

Usually, the body produces these substances at a steady and slow pace. However, if we have diabetes, the additional glucose in the blood actually speeds up the whole process, and that affects the tendons.

The tendons are actually made from a protein by the name of collagen. The substances AGEs, i.e., advanced glycation end products form a bond with the collagen. In turn, that changes the structure of the tendons and impacts their ability.

Tendon Issues

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Weakness, numbness, and tingling in the wrist due to the pressure on the nerve which runs through it.

Frozen Shoulder – Pain and stiffness happens when the capsule around the ligaments and tendons in the joint thickens up.

Trigger Finger – The finger is stuck in a bent position, and it only straightens up with a snap, similar to the sound of a pulled trigger.

Rotator Cuff Tears – damage to the muscles and tendons which are found around the shoulder joint and this includes the supraspinatus muscle.

Dupuytren’s Contracture – thickening of the tissue found under the skin of the hand which causes the fingers to bend in toward the palm.

How to Treat and Prevent Tendon Damage?

The best way to prevent tendon issues is to control diabetes. Control over diabetes means lowering blood glucose levels with medicine, exercise, and diet.

Moreover, those who are overweight can try to shed a few pounds, and that can additionally help. Proper control can help improve the overall health and what’s most important take the pressure off the tendons.

In case someone already has tendons issues, they can try different treatments such as:

  • A splint to maintain the joint steady while the tendons recover,
  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin,
  • Ice and heat,
  • Exercise,
  • Physical therapy,
  • Muscles relaxants.

But, the best thing would be to consult a doctor about the right treatment.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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