Musculoskeletal morbidity: the growing burden of shoulder pain and disability and poor quality of life in diabetic outpatients

Clin Exp Rheumatol. May-Jun 2007;25(3):422-9.


Objective: To investigate shoulder pain and disability and quality of life (QoL) over 12 months in patients with diabetes and in a non-diabetic control group.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 12-month follow-up in diabetic (n=189) and medical (n=99) outpatients employing the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) and SF-36 version 2. The results were analysed using restricted maximum likelihood (REML).

Results: The prevalence of current shoulder symptoms was 35% in diabetics and 17% in controls. Shoulder pain and disability as calculated by the SPADI were independently associated with diabetes (vs controls) and current shoulder symptoms, and worsened over 12 months. Disability scores worsened with age in diabetics, and pain scores were higher in diabetics than controls among patients reporting current shoulder symptoms. Poor physical QoL worsened over time in patients with diabetes and was worse in patients with current shoulder symptoms, whether they had diabetes or not. Mental QoL was worse only in patients with current shoulder symptoms.

Conclusion: Shoulder symptoms are common, affecting 1 in every 3 diabetic patients and 1 in every 6 control patients. In this study shoulder pain, disability and physical QoL were poorer among diabetics and patients reporting current shoulder symptoms, and worsened over time. Mental QoL was worse in patients reporting current shoulder symptoms and was independent of diabetes. Therefore, shoulder symptoms are common, are associated with poor physical and mental QoL in addition to shoulder pain and disability, and are worse in patients with diabetes, even in a population with relatively moderate shoulder pain and disability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Shoulder Pain / ethnology
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology