Diabetes mellitus alters the mechanical properties of the native tendon in an experimental rat model.
Fox AJ, Bedi A, Deng XH, Ying L, Harris PE, Warren RF, Rodeo SA. J Orthop Res. 2011; doi: 10.1002/jor.21327
This study is sticking with the same diabetes and tendon injury theme as my last post. This is a topic that has recently been getting more attention in the literature. Like I said in the last post, diabetes, whether type II or type I, has been on the rise and this is an important topic in sports medicine. This study used the same rat model described in the previous post to examine the effects of diabetes on tendon properties except this time the patellar tendon was used. One group had diabetes induced and the other served as a non-diabetic control. At 12 and 19 days after induction of diabetes, biomechanics and histology were performed to assess the native tendon properties. The patella tendons from diabetic rats failed (tore) at the tendon midsubstance more frequently compared to controls. Modulus (normalized tissue strength) was also decreased in the diabetic rats at 19 days induction.
These findings suggest that diabetes has a detrimental affect on the structural properties of tendon. It is difficult to determine if this is a global change to all tendons in the body or if it is variable based on the structure and function of specific tendons. However, based on previous diabetes research, hyperglycemia has a chemical reaction to collagen, so there may be a global effect and any tendon is at risk for tendinopathy in diabetic athletes. Combining the two results together, diabetic athletes should be closely monitored and advised to perform proper stretching and strengthening programs to maintain tendon strength, which is diminished based on this rat model. Diabetic athletes may also require longer durations to recover from workouts and tendon injury due to the decreased ability to heal. Again proper nutrition may help reduce hyperglycemia, which seems to be the culprit in this disease.
Written by: Stephen Thomas
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban