Aims Limited joint mobility (LJM) in the foot has not been assessed in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) but is associated with neuropathic ulceration in adults. This study was designed to determine the presence of LJM in adolescents with Type 1 DM and its association with microvascular disease.
Methods The hands, feet and hips were examined in 302 diabetic adolescents and 51 nondiabetic controls (aged 11.5–20 years). LJM was defined as less than the fifth percent reference for controls.
Results Reduced motion was found in 35% of diabetic adolescents at the subtalar (ST) joint, 18% at the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, 26% at the fifth metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint and 13% had limited passive extension of the interphalangeal (IP) joints of the hands. Limited passive IP joint extension of the hands was not present in the controls. Limited active IP joint extension, a positive ‘prayer sign’, occurred in 35% of diabetic adolescents and 14% of controls. Diabetic adolescents showing LJM in any of these areas, except the prayer sign, were more likely to have retinopathy (odds ratio 2.53, CI: 1.53–4.18). Those with LJM in the foot were more likely to have albumin excretion rates > 7.5 μg/min (OR 2.06, CI: 1.16–3.68).
Conclusion LJM in the feet of adolescents with Type 1 DM is associated with microvascular disease and is a useful routine clinical measure.
Diabet. Med. 16, 125–130 (1999)