Managing Your Orthopaedic Health With Diabetes

Doctor in white lab coat discussing glucose levels with diabetic patient showing only clasped hands, diabetes management - Dr. Herrick siegel
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If you are living with diabetes, you are likely familiar with how it can affect your eyes, heart, and circulation over time. But did you know that diabetes also has a major impact on your bone and joint health? Understanding this connection is critical so you can safeguard your orthopaedic wellbeing.

Common Orthopaedic Conditions Associated With Diabetes

Research shows that diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing several orthopaedic issues involving your bones, joints, and connective tissues:

Frozen Shoulder: This painful condition limits your shoulder’s range of motion due to inflammation and scarring. Studies indicate it’s much more prevalent in people with diabetes versus the general public.

Osteoporosis: People with type 1 diabetes have a heightened risk of osteoporosis which weakens bones and raises chances of fractures.

Osteoarthritis: Those with type 2 diabetes tend to develop obesity – a top risk factor for osteoarthritis that erodes joint cartilage cushioning.

Trigger Finger: In trigger finger, a finger or thumb locks in a bent position then snaps straight, which is highly disruptive. Diabetics, especially senior adults or people who’ve had diabetes longer, get trigger finger more frequently.

Charcot Foot: This severe diabetes complication stems from nerve injury numbing pain sensation in the foot so damage quietly builds until a joint collapses. Charcot foot markedly boosts odds of foot ulcers as well.

How Diabetes Impacts Your Orthopaedic Treatment Options

When joint or bone disease coincides with diabetes, established therapies often work differently or fall short.

For frozen shoulder, surgery is usually unavoidable for diabetics since other conservative treatments prove ineffective. And for trigger finger, go-to cortisone injections do not deliver comparable benefits.

Likewise, diabetes considerably alters the surgical outlook across various orthopaedic realms. Nowadays, identifying high-risk individuals is much more defined than years ago. Frankly put – if your diabetes is uncontrolled, you will likely recover more slowly after orthopaedic surgery or battle setbacks like infection or poor wound healing.

Therefore, surgeons may postpone non-emergency procedures until diabetes is reined in if blood glucose runs too high or A1c exceeds 7.5%. Why? Because research confirms that optimum diabetes regulation crucially protects tissues and the immune response to maximize healing.

So in essence, curbing diabetes proactively shields against threats to your musculoskeletal system in daily life and when undergoing orthopaedic procedures.

Key Ways To Champion Your Bone And Joint Health

When it comes to fortifying your orthopaedic wellness, diligently minding your diabetes tops the list. Maintaining your health through ongoing care and self-care builds a resilient foundation.

Partner With Your Healthcare Team

Attending regular primary care and endocrinology exams spotted with bloodwork affords the best surveillance and treatment adjustments over the long run. Tracking blood glucose routinely also empowers you to intercept highs or lows early.

Prioritize A Healthy Lifestyle

Diet and exercise habits that spur weight loss and fitness can profoundly improve diabetes control as well as temper systemic inflammation that erodes joints. Quitting tobacco use likewise cuts inflammation and infection risks.

Keep Diabetes In Check

Mastering glucose control and A1c under 7% through medication compliance and lifestyle transforms your health trajectory by leaps and bounds. When glucose swings widely instead, tissues starve then get flooded alternately which breeds issues.

Think Big Picture

Most importantly, view diabetes as a driving force that makes all body systems – including bones and joints – more vulnerable. This mindset ensures you take medications faithfully, check glucose often, see your doctors regularly, and make daily choices to live your best life possible.

In essence, embracing diabetes self-management equaling orthopaedic self-care safeguards your entire wellbeing for years to come. If you have diabetes or other conditions, and questions arise about your musculoskeletal health or orthopaedic surgery, please reach out to orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Herrick J. Siegel who provides personalized solutions for patients in Birmingham, Alabama and surrounding communities.