Diabetes type 2: Fingers and hands changed appearance? Symptoms of high blood sugar

Diabetes type 2 can affect many parts of your body, including your skin. When diabetes affects the skin, it’s often a sign that your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. What are the symptoms to spot on your hands and fingers?

Hard, thickening skin may develop on your fingers warning of high blood sugars.

The medical name for this condition is digital sclerosis.

On the hands, you’ll notice tight, waxy skin on the backs of your hands, said the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD).

The health site continued: “The fingers can become stiff and difficult to move.

“If diabetes has been poorly controlled for years, it can feel like you have pebbles in your fingertips.”

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“Hard, thick, and swollen-looking skin can spread, appearing on the forearms and upper arms,” added AAD.

“It can also develop on the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Sometimes, the thickening skin spreads to the face, shoulders, and chest.

“In rare cases, the skin over the knees, ankles, or elbows also thickens, making it difficult to straighten your leg, point your foot, or bend your arm.

“Wherever it appears, the thickened skin often has the texture of an orange peel.”


As the condition progresses, the bumps can turn into yellow, reddish, or brown patches of swollen and hard skin.

You may also notice:

The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance

You can see blood vessels

The skin is itchy and painful.

Between 51 and 97 percent of people with diabetes will experience a related skin condition, warned a study published in Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome.

For this reason, people with type 2 diabetes should watch out for:

  • Changes in their skin
  • Injuries or irritation to the skin surrounding insulin injection sites
  • Cuts and wounds that are slow to heal, as slow-healing wounds are often entryways for secondary infections
  • Cuts and wounds that appear infected.

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