Musculoskeletal disorders in diabetes mellitus: an update

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2003 Dec;17(6):945-70. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2003.11.001.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with several musculoskeletal disorders. The incidence of DM and the life expectancy of the diabetic patient have both increased, resulting in the increased prevalence and clinical importance of musculoskeletal alterations in diabetic subjects. The exact pathophysiology of most of these musculoskeletal disorders remains obscure. Connective tissue disorders, neuropathy, vasculopathy or combinations of these problems, may underlie the increased incidence of musculoskeletal disorders in DM. The development of musculoskeletal disorders is dependent on age and on the duration of DM; however, it has been difficult to show a direct correlation with the metabolic control of DM. Most of these disorders can be diagnosed clinically, but some radiological examination may help, especially in differential diagnosis. No specific treatment is available, and treatments used in the general population are also recommended for diabetic subjects. Infectious complications affecting the musculoskeletal system are common in DM subjects, and these, possibly life-threatening, complications should be systematically discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / classification*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy