People with type 2 diabetes have greater risk of tendon pain, study suggests

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 01 Feb 2016
People with type 2 diabetes have greater risk of tendon pain, study suggests
People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have tendon pain, which might affect adherence to exercise regimes, new research suggests.

Researchers at Monash University, Melbourne observed that people with type 2 diabetes are over three times more likely to be diagnosed with tendon pain, known as tendinopathy, compared to people without diabetes.

Tendinopathy occurs when tendons, the soft tissues that connect bones to muscles, become inflamed or injured, often due to repetitive movements or overuse. This condition can make exercise harder, which is important for the management of diabetes.

In this new study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers highlighted that people with type 2 diabetes might be susceptible to tendinopathy because of prolonged high blood sugar levels.

Lead researcher Jamie Gaida and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 31 previous studies. 26 focused on people with type 2 diabetes, while five focused on people with diagnosed tendinopathy.

They found that people with type 2 diabetes were three times more likely to develop tendinopathy compared to people without diabetes, while people with tendinopathy were 30 per cent more likely to have diabetes.

Furthermore, people with diabetes and tendinopathy had a longer duration of diabetes, while type 2 diabetic participants also had thicker tendons than control participants, which is often seen in tendinopathy.

Gaida told Reuters Health: "Tendinopathy is a problem for two key reasons. First, feeling pain during movements that load the tendon is unpleasant, and second, having a painful tendon stops you being physically active."

Gaida added that people with diabetes who develop tendon pain should seek early medication attention, while gradually increasing activity levels can reduce the progression of tendinopathy.

"Physiotherapists/Physical Therapists are uniquely skilled to help you recover from tendinopathy and return to your chosen activity," said Gaida. "[People with diabetes] should absolutely be physically active, as it is one of the most effective treatments for diabetes."
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