Both diabetes and fractures are prevalent in adults. The relationship between diabetes and osteoporosis is complex and, although it has been investigated extensively, the subject remains controversial. While low bone mineral density (BMD) is consistently observed in type 1 diabetes, the relationship is less clear in type 2 diabetes, with some studies reporting modestly increased or unchanged BMD. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been associated with a higher risk of fractures. Despite discrepancies between BMD and fracture rates, clinical trials uniformly support the fact that new bone formation and bone microarchitecture and, thus, bone quality, are altered in both types of diabetes. Although a causal association between diabetes and osteoporosis cannot be established on the basis of existing data, it is possible to conclude from many studies and from a better understanding of the physiopathology of diabetes that it can increase the risk of fractures through skeletal (decreased BMD and bone quality) and extraskeletal (increased risk of falls) factors. Even though osteoporosis screening or prophylactic treatment in all patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is not being recommended at present, such patient populations should be given general guidelines regarding calcium and vitamin D intakes, exercise and the avoidance of potential risk factors for osteoporosis. The extent of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions should be based on the individual's risk profile for fractures.