Limited joint mobility (LJM) of the hand was studied by visual examination in 361 diabetic outpatients aged 11 to 83 years, and 45 non-diabetic controls, without evidence of arthritis. LJM was evident in 58% of diabetic subjects and 4% of controls (p less than 0.001). LJM was noted in 131 (55%) of the 238 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) as opposed to 31 of the 41 patients (76%) with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). LJM occurred in 60 of the 82 diabetic subjects (73%) receiving insulin therapy who developed diabetes after the age of 35 years. LJM was significantly related to duration of diabetes in the patients with IDDM less than 40 years of age but was not associated with duration in the patients with NIDDM. A significant association of LJM and neuropathy was noted in patients less than 40 years of age with less than 20 years of diabetes. A significant association of LJM and retinopathy was also noted in those less than 40 years of age with less than 30 years of diabetes. There was no association of LJM and nephropathy regardless of age or duration of diabetes.
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