How diet, Type II diabetes and obesity compromise tendon healing

Marion Hauser, MS, RD

In this article we will examine the research surrounding the problems of a broken tendon healing cycle caused by problems of diabetes and obesity.

If you are having concerns about your diabetes and obesity hindering your healing ability,you can get help and information from our Caring Medical staff.

In the medical publication Nutrition, researcher Luke Curtis wrote that tendon injures cause a great deal of disability and pain, and increase medical costs. However, relatively little is known about tendon biology and healing.

More research on nutrition and tendon health is needed. Because many nutrients are required for tendon health, nutritional interventions involving multiple nutrients may be more effective than single-nutrient strategies.(1)

The problem of tendon healing and nutrition has recently become a favorite subject to researchers. As Dr. Curtis points out there had been a lack of knowledge as to how the management of diabetes Type 2 and obesity affect tendon healing. This is changing.

In a July 2017 study from the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York and the Mayo Clinic wrote in the online scientific journal PLos One (Public Library of Science one) that:

To bring light to this problem, the researchers placed mice  on either a high fat diet or low fat diet and underwent flexor tendon transection and repair surgery to simulate tendon injury and repair.

The findings?

Our bodies are very clever when it comes to solving the problems of poor tendon healing in regard to diabetes. In a fascinating new study from a combined research team in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States (the University of Miami) doctors wrote in the medical journal Gait Posture of how diabetes patients walk differently than non-diabetic patients and it has something to do with tendons.

What the researchers were looking at was why diabetic patients expended more energy in walking than non-diabetic patients. This would obviously be an appealing subject for the easily fatigued diabetic patient.

What the doctors found was not the answer as to why diabetic patients used more energy in walking than non-diabetic patients, but something really incredible. Patients with diabetes and mild diabetic peripheral neuropathy, unknowingly reduced ankle movement during walking to provide stability. How? By redirecting energy towards the ankle.

If you are having concerns about your diabetes and obesity hindering your healing ability,you can get help and information from our Caring Medical staff.

1 Curtis L. Nutritional research may be useful in treating tendon injuries. Nutrition. 2016 Jun 30;32(6):617-9. [Google Scholar]

2 Ackerman JE, Geary MB, Orner CA, Bawany F, Loiselle A. Obesity/Type II Diabetes Alters Macrophage Polarization Resulting in a Fibrotic Tendon Healing Response. bioRxiv. 2017 Jan 1:131607.

3 Petrovic M, Deschamps K, Verschueren SM, Bowling FL, Maganaris CN, Boulton AJ, Reeves ND. Altered leverage around the ankle in people with diabetes: A natural strategy to modify the muscular contribution during walking? Gait & posture. 2017 May 19;57:85. [Google Scholar]


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