Based on an analysis of past studies, researchers found that people
with type 2 diabetes are more than three times as likely as those
without the disease to have tendon pain, known as tendinopathy. And
people with diagnosed tendinopathy have 30 percent higher odds of
The findings may indicate a problem healthcare providers need to be
aware of, the study’s senior author said. “People with diabetes are
more likely to develop tendinopathy, but the opposite is also true -
people with tendinopathy are more likely to have undiagnozed
diabetes,” Jamie Gaida told Reuters Health in an email.
“Tendinopathy is a problem for two key reasons,” he said. “First,
feeling pain during movements that load the tendon is unpleasant,
and second, having a painful tendon stops you being physically
People with diabetes “should absolutely be physically active, as it
is one of the most effective treatments for diabetes,” said Gaida,
an assistant professor and physiotherapist at the University of
Canberra in Australia.
Tendinopathy refers to injuries and inflammation of the tendons, the
soft tissues that connect muscles to bones, usually due to overuse
or repetitive movements. Having injured tendons may make it
difficult to stick with exercise programs, which are essential for
management of diabetes.
One past research review has also linked diabetes and increased risk
of tendinopathies, the authors of the new study note in the British
Journal of Sports Medicine.
To examine the relationship further, Gaida and colleagues reviewed
31 previous studies. Twenty-six of them focused on people with type
2 diabetes while five focused on people with diagnosed tendinopathy.
When they combined and reanalyzed the data in all the studies,
Gaita’s team found that people with type 2 diabetes were 3.67 times
more likely to develop tendinopathy compared to control participants
without diabetes. People with tendinopathy were 1.3 times more
likely than controls to have diabetes.
The study team also found that people with diabetes were more likely
to have thickened tendons, which is often seen in tendinopathy. And
people with both tendinopathy and diabetes typically had been
diagnosed diabetic for longer than those with diabetes but no tendon
“The risk of tendinopathy increases with the number of years that
you’ve had diabetes,” Gaida said.
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Physical activity is one of the most effective treatments for
diabetes and tendinopathy can be one of the worst things for
diabetes management as it stops physical activity, he said, adding
that people who develop tendon pain should seek medical advice early
for the speediest recovery.
“Physiotherapists/Physical Therapists are uniquely skilled to help
you recover from tendinopathy and return to your chosen activity,”
People with diabetes shouldn’t see this study as a reason to stop
exercising, stressed Dr. I. Martin Levy, director of the orthopedic
surgery residency program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
Levy said that people with diabetes should take a measured approach
to any type of exercise or activity. “I think whatever exercise
program that you are going to take, use common sense, and start off
People sometimes “launch themselves too aggressively into exercise
programs and hurt themselves,” he said. “Any exercise that you take
on, you should do it in a progressive manner. Start off gently and
then increase in a rational way, and constantly observing results of
your exercise to determine if in fact you are having any problems
from the exercise program that you are on.”
Gaida said the risk of tendinopathy for anyone can be minimized by
gradually increasing activity levels and the rate of progression
should be slower for someone with diabetes.
Gaida also noted that good control of blood sugar levels can
minimize the increased risk of tendinopathy in people with type 2
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1nhzS3g British Journal of Sports Medicine,
online January 14, 2016.
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