Diabetic cheiroarthropathy

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Diabetic cheiroarthropathy
Other names: Limited Joint Mobility, or LJM
Prayer sign

Diabetic cheiroarthropathy, also known as Diabetic stiff hand syndrome or limited joint mobility syndrome, is a cutaneous condition characterized by waxy, thickened skin and limited joint mobility of the hands and fingers, leading to flexion contractures, a condition associated with diabetes mellitus[1]: 681  and it is observed in roughly 30% of diabetic patients with longstanding disease.[2]: 540  [3]

It can be a predictor for other diabetes-related complications and was one of the earliest known complications of diabetes, first documented in 1974.[4]

Signs and symptoms

In the fingers, diabetic cheiroarthropathy can cause such extreme limited mobility that the patient is unable to fully extend the fingers in order to flatten the hand. Typically, both hands are afflicted by diabetic cheiroarthropathy, with most patients finding stiffness beginning in the little finger and spreading to the thumb. Most times, just smaller, more fragile joints are affected by it, with larger joints usually only being affected in patients with more severe or more advanced cases of diabetes.


Diabetic cheiroarthropathy can be treated with pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, joint and muscle stretching exercises or physical/occupational therapy, and better glucose monitoring and control.


Cheiroarthropathy has been reported in over 50% of insulin-dependent diabetic patients and approximately 75% of non insulin-dependent diabetes. Cheiroarthropathy occurs most often among patients with a longer history of diabetes and patients with a history of diabetic neuropathy.

See also


  1. Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 978-1-4160-2999-1.
  2. James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-7216-2921-6.
  3. "Archive copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2020-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Lindsay, J. R.; Kennedy, L.; Atkinson, A. B.; Bell, P. M.; Carson, D. J.; McCance, D. R.; Hunter, S. J. (2005). "Reduced Prevalence of Limited Joint Mobility in Type 1 Diabetes in a U.K. Clinic Population over a 20-Year Period". Diabetes Care. 28 (3): 658–661. doi:10.2337/diacare.28.3.658. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2020-12-18.