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Insulin dependent diabetic, have increasing shoulder pain

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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I am 60 year old male. Diabetic for last 25 years but insulin dependent. I have been suffering from left shoulder pain for the last 6 months and the pain is increasing.
Posted Sun, 30 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 8 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Pain in the shoulder in diabetics is commonly found due to a frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis.
Usually, there is enough room between the Acromion and the rotator cuff so that the tendons slide easily underneath the acromion as the arm is raised. But each time the arm is raised, there is a bit of rubbing or pinching on the tendons and the bursa. With overuse, this can cause irritation and swelling of the bursa.

There are a group of muscles and tendons which form a covering around the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to your shoulder blade. This group is collectively called the rotator cuff muscles and from your symptoms the possibility of rotator cuff tendonitis is more likely.

It causes local swelling and tenderness in the front of the shoulder and initially it presents as minor pain but gradually it causes severe pain and loss of motion.

You need to get an MRI scan done which is a more sensitive test for soft tissue and muscular injuries. An Orthopedician is the best person to be consulted.

Here are some general treatment measures which you can follow:

1) Provide complete rest and avoid overhead activities.
2) Apply cold compresses and take some anti inflammatory pain killer after consulting your doctor.

If the symptoms are severe then after confirming the diagnosis by MRI, you may need steroid injections or surgical arthroscopic technique (kept as last resort).

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Insulin dependent diabetic, have increasing shoulder pain 16 hours later
Dear Dr Tayal,

Thank you for your detailed reply. I have this nagging worry. This kind of shoulder pain is a symptom of lung cancer. I would like to put my mind to rest. I am smoker for thhe last 25 years - 10-15 cigarettes a day.


Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 6 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
The shoulder pain you have can be due to a lung lesion. This can be confirmed only after an MRI scan. Since you are a smoker, you are at a high risk.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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