A comparative prospective study of 120 adult diabetics (60 insulin dependent, 60 non-insulin dependent) and 120 non-diabetic adults as controls showed significantly higher incidence of Dupuytren's disease, limited joint motion, carpal tunnel syndrome, and flexor tenosynovitis in the diabetic population. Of the diabetic patients one third had a mild non-progressive form of Dupuytren's disease, which commonly involved the long and ring rays. Limited joint motion was noted in a third of diabetics, and carpal tunnel syndrome was observed in 15-25%, and flexor tenosynovitis in about a fifth. Limited joint motion co-existed with Dupuytren's disease in 57% of insulin-dependent diabetics. Diabetic polyneuropathy was found in two thirds of insulin-dependent diabetics and in one third of non-insulin dependent diabetics. All these hand changes were more marked in insulin-dependent diabetics and they showed a positive correlation with increasing age of the patient, duration of the diabetes, and the presence of a microangiopathy.