Long-term type 1 diabetes is associated with hand pain, disability, and stiffness, but not with radiographic hand osteoarthritis (OA), according to data published in PLoS One.

Karin Magnusson, from the National Advisory Unit on Rehabilitation in Rheumatology and the Department of Rheumatology at Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway, and colleagues conducted a study that included 96 patients with type 1 diabetes diagnosed before 1970 (mean age, 62.2 years; mean HbA1c, 7.43) and 69 healthy controls (mean age, 63.0 years; HbA1c, 5.41).

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The investigators compared the groups for radiographic hand OA, erosive hand OA, Australian/Canadian index for hand pain, and disability and stiffness. Regression analyses were adjusted for age, sex, educational level, and waist circumference.

The researchers observed no associations between type 1 diabetes and more prevalent hand OA (odds ratio [OR], 0.83). They found a trend toward a higher prevalence of erosive hand OA in diabetes patients (OR, 2.96).

In addition, the study authors found strong associations between long-term type 1 diabetes and increased hand pain (unstandardized Beta estimate [B], 2.78), disability (B, 5.30), and stiffness (B, 2.00).

“The current study showed that long term type 1 diabetes was not associated with radiographic hand OA, but was strongly associated with increased hand pain, hand stiffness and reduced hand function, particularly in women and young participants with higher HbA1c,” the study authors concluded. “The association between diabetes and erosive hand OA should be further explored using larger sample sizes.”


  1. Magnusson K, Holte KB, Juel NG, et al. Long term types 1 diabetes is associated with hand pain, disability and stiffness but not with structural hand osteoarthritis features – The Dialong hand study. PLoS One. 2017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0177118