Introduction: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with systemic musculoskeletal system impairments suggesting concurrent development of lower and upper extremity musculoskeletal problems. This study aims to examine relationships between lower and upper extremity function in people with DM. Methods: Sixty people with type 2 DM and peripheral neuropathy [mean (standard deviation); 67(6) years old, DM duration 14(10) yrs] completed the following measures: 1) Self-reports of function: Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM; higher = better function) and Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI; lower = better function), 2) Range of motion (goniometry): ankle dorsiflexion and shoulder flexion, and 3) Strength: unilateral heel rise power (UHR, 3D kinetics) and hand grip dynamometry. Pearson correlations examined associations between lower and upper extremity measures, p <.05. Results: Forty of 60 (67%) reported pain/disability in both the foot/ankle and shoulder and 95% of study participants had some limitation in foot or shoulder function. Significant between extremity correlations: FAAM and SPADI (r = −0.39), ankle dorsiflexion and shoulder flexion range of motion (r = 0.35), and UHR and hand grip strength (r = 0.40). Significant within extremity correlations: FAAM and UHR (r =.47) and SPADI with shoulder flexion (r = −0.44). Conclusion: Upper and lower extremity inter- and intra-relationships indicate systemic musculoskeletal impairments in people with DM. Healthcare practitioners should consider the potential for concurrent and disabling musculoskeletal problems in people with DM.
- Foot and ankle ability measure
- Grip strength
- Shoulder pain and disability index
- Unilateral heel rise