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Managing Diabetes and Osteoarthritis

October 21, 2016

Managing Diabetes and Osteoarthritis

Although diabetes and osteoarthritis are independent conditions, they have been known to aggravate one another. It can be more difficult to manage your osteoarthritis pain when you have diabetes because your internal systems don’t operate as efficiently. However, controlling your osteoarthritis will in turn help stabilize your diabetes, and vice versa.

Fragile and fluctuating blood sugar levels cause both type 1 and type 2 diabetes because your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, but it is usually because of excess weight – not directly because of fluctuating blood sugar levels. However, once you have osteoarthritis, your diabetes can make the pain worse. Osteoarthritis inflames your joints, and fluctuating blood sugar levels can make the pain and swelling in your joints worse.


An anti-inflammatory, low glycemic diet is one of the best ways to control your diabetes and arthritis. Some of the best foods to eat are oatmeal, whole grains, nuts, most fruits, skim milk, and vegetables.  Many low-glycemic foods also help fight inflammation in your joints.

Keep away from high-glycemic foods including high-carb foods, fried food, pretzels, and sugar-sweetened drinks. Try to stay away from highly processed and packaged foods, as many of these foods contain a large amount of sugar.

If you believe you are a candidate for joint replacement surgery and you have diabetes, make sure you do the following before surgery:

  1. Eat low glycemic food
  2. Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully
  3. Take the medications prescribed to you
  4. Check with your doctor about potential risks
  5. Be sure to continue physical activity, even if your arthritis makes that more difficult. Physical activity helps lower your blood pressure, your risk for heart disease, and reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis.

It is very important to keep your muscles strong if you have both arthritis and diabetes; weakened muscles can lead to weakened bone health. Diabetics may be more likely to have complications with osteoarthritis and joint replacements, and recovery time usually takes longer, but it is definitely manageable!

If you are interested in having a joint replacement, please call our office for more information. We are here to help and want your journey to recovery to be as painless as possible!

Office #: 317.455.1064


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Bloomington Office
639 S. Walker Street
Bloomington, IN 47403

Indianapolis Office (Main)
6920 Gatwick Drive, Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46241

Midwest Center for Joint Replacement

Midwest Center for Joint Replacement