Limited joint mobility (LJM) in elderly subjects with type II diabetes mellitus

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Sep-Oct 2011;53(2):135-40. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2010.09.011. Epub 2010 Oct 10.


LJM is frequently observed in young subjects with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Aim of this study was to evaluate whether non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) increases the risk of LJM in elderly subjects. Thirty patients (15 males, 15 females, mean age 73.93 ± 12.72 years) with NIDDM in good glycemic control were compared with thirty non-diabetic elderly, well matched for sex and age (15 males, 15 females, mean age 74.3 ± 4.24 years), and with ten young normal subjects (5 males, 5 females, mean age 26.3 ± 1.56 years). In these subjects, the range of motion (ROM) of ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder were measured with a double-armed goniometer. Moreover, abnormalities of supraspinatus, patellar and Achilles tendons were evaluated with a standardized ultrasound (US) procedure. A significant reduction in the mobility of all joints was found in elderly subjects, compared to younger ones, with exception for the knee and elbow flexion. Elderly patients with diabetes, compared with their age-matched counterpart, showed LJM for ankle dorso- and plantar flexion, hip flexion and adduction, shoulder abduction and flexion. Moreover, tendons sonographic abnormalities were more frequently observed in diabetics. Our data confirm that diabetes worsens the LJM in the elderly, increasing the cross-linking of collagen by the non-enzymatic advanced glycation end products formation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Diseases / etiology
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Joints / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Ultrasonography