A new study, published within the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, has discovered a link between frozen shoulder and fasting glucose levels. The association between frozen shoulder and diabetes is nothing new, but very little is currently known about the link regarding fasting glucose levels.
Interestingly, a link was discovered in fasting glucose levels of 90-99 mg/dL which are considered to be normoglycemic. Levels below this range haven’t shown any corresponding connection. In fact, fasting glucose levels under 85 mg/dL showed a negative association.
So, there is certainly a link between the shoulder and blood sugar levels. The question is, what is the relationship between frozen shoulder and diabetes?
Frozen shoulder and diabetes
The American Diabetes Association states that around 10% to 20% of those with diabetes, go on to suffer from frozen shoulder at some point in their lives. When you consider the rate is just 2% to 5% in the general population, you can see the increased risk diabetes poses.
Frozen shoulder is otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis and it progresses slowly over time. It occurs as the ball and socket joint of the shoulder starts to lose its mobility.
Eventually, it becomes frozen or immobilised. This means the arm cannot be moved over the head and daily tasks become extremely difficult.
It is thought that the condition can be triggered by high blood sugar levels. These attach to the ligaments and tendons, causing them to become weaker and stiffer. In turn, this causes inflammation. When you combine this with the circulation issues caused by high blood sugar levels, it can worsen the stiffness in the socket.
Generally speaking, the longer a patient lives with diabetes, the bigger the risk there is it will lead to frozen shoulder.
The importance of early treatment
Although it can be challenging to identify the symptoms of frozen shoulder early on, the sooner you can seek treatment, the better. Patients who do have diabetes should take care to control their blood sugar levels. This is the only way to reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related frozen shoulder.
For patients who are experiencing frozen shoulder, treatment includes physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medications. Steroid injections can also prove useful. However, for those with diabetes these aren’t always suitable as they can lead to high blood sugar levels. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the issue.
If you are worried you might be experiencing frozen shoulder, book a consultation with a specialist today. They will be able to diagnose the cause of the condition and recommend the best course of treatment moving forward.