Pain, Tendon Discomfort Linked to Diabetes: Study

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Jan 31, 2016 06:36 PM EST

New research links tendinopathy to Type 2 diabetes.

Tendinopathy happens when tendons, or the soft tissues that connect muscles to bones, are injured or inflamed due to overuse or repetitive movements. People diagnosed with tendinopathy are predicted to have a difficult time in following exercise programs. It is widely regarded that exercise is "essential for management of diabetes."

The study, published on the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gives adequate evidence to support that those who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are three times more like to experience tendon pain as compared to those who were not diagnosed with the illness. The association goes both ways as those with tendinopathy are found to have 30 percent higher odds of acquiring diabetes.

"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," noted Jamie Gaida, senior author of the study, as reported by Reuters.

To arrive at their conclusion, Gaida and colleagues reviewed and meta-analyzed studies that present both conditions of tendinopathy and type 2 diabetes. A total of 31 studies were analyzed of which 26 are on people with diabetes and five are on those diagnosed with tendinopathy

"Tendinopathy was more prevalent in people with diabetes (17 studies), diabetes was more prevalent in people with tendinopathy (5 studies), people with diabetes and tendinopathy had a longer duration of diabetes than people with diabetes only (6 studies) and people with diabetes had thicker tendons than controls (9 studies)," the results read.

The study's results also paved way for a new problem that healthcare providers need to address, says the research's senior author and assistant professor and physiotherapist at the University of Canberra in Australia Gaida.

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

People with diabetes "should absolutely be physically active, as it is one of the most effective treatments for diabetes," Gaida noted.

He added that the risk of tendinopathy can be minimized by slowly but progressively increasing one's activity levels. He adds that those who have diabetes should follow a slower rate of progression.

Moreover, Gaida stressed that a good control of blood sugar level can help diminish the increased risk of tendinopathy in people with type 2 diabetes.

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