The musculoskeletal system can be affected by diabetes in a number of ways. The shoulder is one of the frequently affected sites. One of the rheumatic conditions caused by diabetes is frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), which is characterized by pain and severe limited active and passive range of motion of the glenohumeral joint, particularly external rotation. This disorder has a clinical diagnosis and the treatment is based on physiotherapy, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections and, in refractory cases, surgical resolution. As with adhesive capsulitis, calcific periarthritis of the shoulder causes pain and limited joint mobility, although usually it has a better prognosis than frozen shoulder. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, also known as shoulder-hand syndrome, is a painful syndrome associated with vasomotor and sudomotor changes in the affected member. Diabetic amyotrophy usually affects the peripheral nerves of lower limbs. However, when symptoms involve the shoulder girdle, it must be considered in the differential diagnosis of shoulder painful conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most common rheumatic condition. There are many risk factors for shoulder osteoarthritis including age, genetics, sex, weight, joint infection, history of shoulder dislocation, and previous injury, in older age patients, diabetes is a risk factor for shoulder OA. Treatment options include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, short term opiate, glucosamine and chondroitin. Corticosteroid injections and/or injections of hyaluronans could also be considered. Patients with continued disabling pain that is not responsive to conservative measures may require surgical referral.
The present review will focus on practice points of view about shoulder manifestations in patients with diabetes.