Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current issue | Archives | Submit article | Instructions | Subscribe | Contacts | Advertise | Login 
Search Article 
Advanced search 
  Users Online: 2276 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

Table of Contents
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 769-770

Prayer sign in diabetes mellitus

1 Department of Endocrinology, Command Hospital (Air Force), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Rheumatology, Command Hospital (Air Force), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Neurology, Command Hospital (Air Force), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Pediatrics, Command Hospital (Air Force), Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2013

Correspondence Address:
Vimal Upreti
Command Hospital (Air Force), Bangalore, Karnataka - 560 007
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.113784

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Upreti V, Vasdev V, Dhull P, Patnaik S K. Prayer sign in diabetes mellitus . Indian J Endocr Metab 2013;17:769-70

How to cite this URL:
Upreti V, Vasdev V, Dhull P, Patnaik S K. Prayer sign in diabetes mellitus . Indian J Endocr Metab [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Jul 9];17:769-70. Available from: http://www.ijem.in/text.asp?2013/17/4/769/113784


Limited joint mobility (LJM) is a condition characterized by hand stiffness resulting from flexion contractures of the fingers and thickened, tight, waxy skin. [1] It is seen in approximately 25-50% diabetics, equally common in both sexes; and commoner in patients on insulin, juvenile onset, and longer duration of the diabetes. [1],[2] It begins as contractures in the distal interphalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints. Gradually, it increases to involve metacarpophalangeal joints, wrists, and other peripheral joints of both upper and lower limbs [Table 1]. It is usually asymptomatic, but later in the course of illness, the patients complain of stiffness, weakness of grip, clumsiness, and decreased dexterity due to reduced ability to perform fine movements. Typically LJM is painless; however, patients with coexisting neuropathy may report pain. [1],[2],[3] Clinically, it is detected by performing the "prayer sign" [3] by asking the patient to put his or her hands together in a praying position with the fingers fanned and to press together the palmar surfaces of the interphalangeal joints and the palms. Normally, an individual is able to oppose both hands together, but a patient with LJM fails to do so as in our patient [Figure 1]. Prayer sign correlates well with goniometer in detection of LJM. Another test to detect LJM is the "tabletop test" that is conducted by asking the patient to place his hands palms-down on a tabletop with the fingers spread. [1] A normal individual should be able to make contact of palmer surface of hand; however, a patient with LJM will not be able to do so. In case of positive test, the examiner may confirm limitation of joint motion with passive extension of the fingers. Differential diagnosis includes Dupuytren contracture, tenosynovitis of the finger flexor tendons, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, palmar fasciitis, and scleroderma. [1]
Figure 1: Positive "prayer sign" in a young girl with juvenile onset diabetes of 5 years duration

Click here to view
Table 1: Classifi cation of LJM[3]

Click here to view

Results of laboratory (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, antinuclear antibodies and rheumatoid factor), radiographic evaluation, and nail fold capillaroscopy are usually unremarkable. [1] Biopsy of the skin and periarticular tissues in patients with LJM has shown abnormal thickening of the dermis and fibrosis of subcutaneous tissue that occurs as a result of non-enzymatic glycosylation of collagen consequent to prolonged hyperglycemia. [2] This glycosylation results in abnormal cross-linking of collagen that renders it resistant to mechanical and enzymatic degradation and subsequent collagen and extracellular matrix accumulation. This leads to alteration of cellular and structural components of the microvasculature, thickening of the capillary basement membrane, low-grade ischemia, and chronic tissue injury. Additionally excessive flux through aldose reductase pathway results in depletion of essential osmolytes, cytotoxic edema, and membrane injury. All of these abnormalities lead to excessive fibrosis that is reversible early in the course of disease but become irreversible later. [1],[2]

LJM is associated with microvascular (2-3 fold higher risk) i.e., neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, and macrovascular complications (3-4 fold higher risk) i.e., coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, and its presence should alert the physician to the likely presence of microvascular or macrovascular disease or both. [1] Treatment options include strict control of blood glucose, passive stretching and digital extension and occupational therapy. No drugs are approved for treatment of LJM; however, injection of corticosteroids in the palmar flexor tendon sheath, aldose reductase inhibitors, penicillamine, and aminoguanidine have been tried with variable results. [1]

   References Top

1.Somai P. Limited joint mobility in diabetes mellitus: The clinical implications. J Musculoskel Med 2011;28:118-24.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Ballantyne JA, Hooper G. The hand and diabetes. Current Orthopaedics 2004;18:118-25.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Rosenbloom AL. Limitation of finger joint mobility in diabetes mellitus. J Diabetes Complicat 1989;3:77-87.  Back to cited text no. 3


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Effects of Type II Diabetes Mellitus on Tendon Homeostasis and Healing
Anne E. C. Nichols,Irvin Oh,Alayna E. Loiselle
Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2019;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded314    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal