Can Diabetes Cause Joint Pain?

Joint pain and diabetes are known to be two different health conditions. Joint pain may be caused with injury, illness, or arthritis. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). If body stops uses insulin properly or is no longer able to produce this hormone properly, it causes diabetes and enhances the level of blood sugar.

Table of Contents

Diabetes and Joint Pain

Diabetes causes different complications and symptoms. Over 47% of diabetic people have arthritis, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. So, it is surely a strong connection between two different conditions.

About Diabetic Arthopathy

Diabetes can cause a condition “diabetic arthropathy” and damage joints. Unlike pain due to acute trauma, the arthropathic pain takes place with time. Some of the other common symptoms are –

  • Changes in feet
  • Thick skin
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Painful shoulders

As the name suggests, a joint is where two bones meet. The protection wears out once the joint wears down. There are different forms of joint pain due to diabetic arthropathy.

Can Diabetes Cause Joint Pain

Charcot’s Joint

It takes place when diabetic nerve damage breaks down a joint. This condition is also known as neuropathic arthropathy and it takes place in ankles and feet in diabetic. Diabetes is often associated with nerve damage in your feet, which causes Charcot’s joint.

Improper functioning of nerve causes numbness of joints. Don’t walk on numb feet or you may injure or twist ligaments without even noticing it. It puts pressure on joints and leads them to wear down. Severe damage causes deformities in various affected joints. You can prevent bone deformities with early intervention. Here are some of the common signs of this condition –

  • Swelling or redness
  • Painful joints
  • Numbness
  • Heating area
  • Feet starts changing its appearance

Limit using affected areas to avoid deformity in bones. Wear orthotics on your numb feet for added support.

Osteoarthritis (OA) and Type 2 Diabetes

It is the most common type of arthritis. It may be associated due to weight gain, which is quite common in type 2 diabetes.  OA is not directly associated with diabetes unlike Charcot’s joint. But excess weight increases risk of having both OA and type 2 diabetes.

OA takes place when cushion between cartilage joints wears down. Due to this reason, bones rub up off one another and cause joint pain. When wear and tear in joints is common in older adults to some extent, being overweight makes the condition even worse. You may find it hard to move your limbs and swelling joints. The knees and hips are affected very commonly

Weight management is best to cure OA. Being overweight adds more pressure on your bones and diabetes go harder to control. So, it is wise to lose weight to ease symptoms of diabetes and alleviate chronic joint pain.

Losing 15 pounds may alleviate pain up to 50%, according to Arthritis Foundation. Regular exercise can also lubricate joints so you will feel more flexible and less pain. If you have unbearable joint pain from OA, ask your doctor for pain medications. In extreme cases, you may want to undergo knee replacement and other surgeries.


You need to spot the joint pain early which is associated with diabetes. Though you cannot cure such conditions, you can at least reduce discomfort and pain. If you have redness, swelling, pain, or numbness on your legs and feet, call your doctor. Cure the symptoms and get the treatment immediately. If you feel that you may develop diabetes or have it, ask your doctor about risk factors.

Leave a Reply