Arthritis and diabetes

I just got diagnosed with arthritis in both of my big toe joints (via an x-ray) after complaining about them hurting for the past few months. My GP kind of brushed it off and said he didn't think it was anything I had to worry about, which is not true according to any of the subsequent googling I've done. My doctor tested me for gout (uric acid levels, etc.) and those all came up normal.

I am wondering if there is a connection between diabetes and arthritis? I've had Type 1 for 21 years and have no known complications. Can it be caused similar to a type of complication from years of high BG? There is a history of rheumatoid arthritis in my family, so I'm definitely wanting a second opinion to rule that out ... I am only 30 and think arthritis at my age seems kind of odd, though I know some others who have it from past injuries. I do use custom orthotics in my shoes, so do have a history of foot problems. Any suggestions on what kinds of things I should be asking doctors or any experiences/thoughts?

I have arthritis too and I am 46. I have had T1 for 26 years. I think my arthritis started around 5 or 6 years ago. I also have injured my shoulders from sports in HS. and so I just finished resolving both shoulders with frozen shoulder, I also have it in my hips. Stretching a lot helps.

It isn't severe. And there is no real way of knowing why it is happening, from old injuries or from diabetes or from genetics. I was checked for Rheumatoid Arthritis and it was negative.

If my Big toes were involved I would be making sure it is not GOUT. Did your doc check your Uric Acid? You are exactly at the age when it most commonly rears it's ugly head.

AND I KEEP TELLING MY DOC, " I AM TOO YOUNG FOR ARTHRITIS" and he calmly says "oh no you're not"

If it should be gout an internet search will reveal some foods that can set it off. However, my son in law gets gout due to an injury, and the pain is agonising, your pain does not sound that bad.

You're not alone on this one. I was diagnosed with RA in Feb this year. I couldn't believe it. It runs strongly in my family though so I suppose it's not completely off the scale. I was surprised at getting it so young, 36yrs. I do wonder if it's because of my poor control over the years or was it going to happen anyway whether I was D or not. Of course I understand that I weakened my body, but I seriously wasn't expecting this. Heat seems to help me a lot, but being from the North West coast of Ireland, there isn't much of that. It does sound like you have Gout. Children can have RA too I'm afraid.

I know of quite a few diabetic friends who suffer with frozen shoulder. Just wondering Timothy if you do much exercise, it's my biggest downfall.

He did test my uric acid and it's normal. Apparently you can also tell if it's gout or arthritis on an x-ray.

My doctor did test me four gout and that turned up negative.

Thanks. Sorry to hear of your diagnosis. RA runs in my family, too, which is why I want to rule that out. I should have put it in my post, but I was tested for gout and it turned up negative, so that's been ruled out.

having an autoimmune disease like t1 can predispose you to other autoimmunes like RA.

if you look on yo can find more info:

"Arthritis and diabetes are not directly related, but the diseases often overlap. In fact, recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than half (52 percent) of people with diabetes also have arthritis. The two diseases have several other commonalities depending on the different chemicals in the body that reduces glucose levels"

Just wondering though did my high bld glucose cause RA. I carry an enormous amount of guilt for not taking proper care of myself.

Just read the link, thanks for posting. I didn't come across it before. Did know there was a link but hadn't seen this site before.

I sprained my ankle in high school, right before I was dx'ed, had it in a cast for like 8 weeks (tx @ the time, since refuted as a good idea...). I don't recall if I had steroids but, until I did a lot of TKD, I'd rolled it every few years, often going down stairs, with spectacular results (***CRASH***) and occasional x-rays and they'd go "you've got arthritis and bone spurs in there". Everybody at the TKD place would jam their big toes on the padded stuff on the floor too and that was pretty freaking painful and would, according to people who'd broken their toes too, pretty much feel like a broken toe. I think those sort of injuries can cause arthritis to build up in there, or at least that's what they said the last time I'd had an X-ray.

In Jen's situation, I suspect that it's possible that whatever the ongoing/ orthotic inducing issue is might cause some sort of repetitive stress on the toe joints that could grind them away to the point where it would create some sort of arthritis that may not be gout or RA but more like a joint being worn out. I hope they can fix it simply somehow and that it doesn't turn into a more serious problem!

My doctor said he thought it was just standard arthritis ("wearing out") and he didn't think it would get worse. But he also offered no treatment suggestions other than take a Tylenol if it hurts ... Based on everything I've read online, it should be treated or it tends to get worse? And if I live till I'm 80 or 90, that's 50 or 60 more years I'll have to use my toe joints!!

I have one ankle that I tend to twist all the time, probably as often as once a month. I'm pretty sure it has arthritis or something from all that, it tends to be stiff and hurts when I try to move it in certain ways, but it doesn't hurt all the time like my toes, so I've never asked a doctor to look at it.

Diabetes can affect the joints I've had what years ago was dxed as Arthrities and I was in my mid 30s. As we all know D affects our whole body. With certain exercises and leading an active life you can alleviate some of that pain. As to see an Arthritis specialist.

In our local paper this week a short article about Types of Arthritis , submitted by a Pharmacist( who does live with type 1 diabetes and is an insulin pumper ) She explains : Inflammatory ( RA....rheumatoid )Joint lubricating system is attacked by immune system , occasional fever , fatigue , tingling and Degenerative ( OA ...osteoarthritis )breakdown of cartilage at end of the bone due to excessive usage ..pain worsen as joint is used , rest provides relief . Iboprofin ( anti - inflammatory drugs maybe used for both) , Cortisone injections for both . RA : Biologic Agents ..OA Thick lubricant Injections.
PS I have not googled what the meaning of agents /thick lubricants are. Indeed seeing an Arthritis Specialist as Betty suggested ???

Jen , maybe your Pharmacist can give you some guidance as well ??

I think I will ask to see a specialist when I get a new GP ... Currently still seeing my old GP even though he is an hour and a half away now, since it takes so long to find a doctor accepting patients here. I have heard cortisone injections really mess up your BG so would rather not get those, but if it's still bothering me down the road maybe ... My aunt (who has RA) suggested the same thing to me when I mentioned all this to her.

I agree seeing a specialist is a good idea. I think that if it's RA all of your joints hurt while you can have OA in a particular joint, related to an injury? I'm not a doctor but I read orthopedic surgeons' reports @ work all the time so I'm not totally unfamiliar with them, besides my own wipeouts and radiological techs saying "gosh, look at that ankle!"

No, there is a genetic background in both RA and T1, besides environmental factors. Your T1 indiscretions have nothing to do with RA. Some people have RA before T1 shows up. There are numerous autoimmune conditions, and some families seem to have the genes for some parts of the group, and others have genes for others. is a great site for all things rheumatoid arthritis.

Jen , would it work to ask present GP to refer you to a Specialist with your preference in your area ??; why do think you should wait till you get a new GP , which may take some time ?
I think GP Dr. Andrew Mackenzie in New West probably looking at retirement, other wise I would certainly recommend him .. How about asking Endo Dr.C. Wallace if she can recommend a GP ?

Hi Jen:

There are over 100 different types of Arthritis. I agree about getting your GP to refer you to a Rheumatologist where the appropriate tests and examination will be done. They also look after Patients with other types of Arthritis. RA is an auto-immune disease as Type 1.

My Cousin was dxd. with JRA when he was 10 y/o, although I didn't know that 'til many years later. Trudy from TuD was also dxd as a Child. I was dxd. when I was 24 y/o not long after the birth of our first Child. Two of my Aunts, my Dad, Sis and others also had/have it. Definitely in the Family. None of these other Family members mentioned, have or had diabetes.

It is important to get tested and put on medications and therapies aggressively if you have RA, to get inflammation down and to slow down deteriation(sp) of the joints.

There is mild, moderate and severe RA. My Family all have the latter. The joints on both sides of the body get inflamed, like joints in both hands and feet, elbows, shoulders, knees and so on. About 20% of Patients get a negative result but still can have RA.