If you have diabetes, you know that it doesn't just affect your blood sugar levels. Diabetes may also affect the way your skin feels and the way your hands move and increase your risk of developing certain hand disorders. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes-related hand pain is to keep good control of your blood sugar. However, if your hands act up, take heart: a number of over-the-counter therapies are available to help prevent and relieve hand pain.
Let's start at the surface. Diabetes weakens your immune system and limits blood flow, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches your skin tissue. This can lead to dry, itchy skin and an increased risk of skin infections.
Fortunately, simple daily habits can help you keep your skin hydrated and healthy:
Under the surface of your skin, diabetes is believed to damage your tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue. The ADA reports that this may be caused by abnormal bonding between sugars and other molecules in your body, spurring a collagen buildup that thickens your connective tissue. These changes can limit normal movement and sensation in your hands.
The most common diabetes-related hand disorders include the following:
Over-the-counter therapies for these conditions include splints, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat, and ice. The right combination depends on your specific hand condition.
Experts across the United States have weighed in on your best bets in most categories. U.S. News & World Report recently used survey results from thousands of pharmacists to produce a list of the most-recommended products for people with symptoms like yours—the OTC guide. Use this simple guide of pharmacist-favorites to determine the best treatment for your condition:
|12344||Carpal Tunnel||Trigger Finger||Dupuytren's Contracture||U.S. News & World Report Recommends|
|NSAIDs||X||X||Advil, Aleve, or Motrin|
|Ice||X||Grab an ice pack, or fill a sandwich bag with ice from your freezer.
Stretching and strengthening exercises may also be helpful for these hand conditions. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist.
High blood sugar leads to nerve damage (neuropathy) in about 50 percent of people with diabetes, according to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Numbness, tingling, and burning in the feet and legs are common, but can also occur in the hands and arms. Try these oral and topical treatments to get your pain under control:
This article is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regimen.
American Diabetes Association, Skin Care Tips for Your Hands
American Diabetes Association, Common Hand Disorders
Merck Manual for Professionals, Carpal Tunnel
NINDS, Carpal Tunnel
Merck Manual for Consumers, Trigger Finger
Joslin Diabetes Center, Diabetic Neuropathy
American Diabetes Association, Winter Skin Care
Mayo Clinic, Diabetic Neuropathy
American Academy of Neurology, Therapies for Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain
U.S. News & World Report, Pharmacists' Top Picks
American Diabetes Association, Skin Care
MedlinePlus, Dupuytren Contracture
NORD, Dupuytren Contracture
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.