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J Rheumatol. 2000 Apr;27(4):1063-8.

Skeletal muscle infarction in diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To analyze the risk factors, clinical features, and methods of diagnosis of diabetic muscle infarction (DMI).


Three patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and skeletal muscle infarction were studied, and 49 additional cases reported in the English literature (Medline database search) were reviewed.


Review of all 52 patients with DMI revealed a number of typical features: equal sex distribution; mean age 41.5 years (range 19-81 yrs); a number of risk factors [long duration of DM (mean 15.2 yrs), poor control and microvascular diabetic complications (neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy) (94%), and insulin dependent type I DM (77%)]; a characteristic clinical presentation with painful diffuse muscle swelling (100%); and sometimes a muscle mass (44%), predilection for quadriceps (62%), hip adductors (13%) and leg muscles (13%), elevated serum creatine phosphokinase (47%), abnormal sonograms (81%), abnormal magnetic resonance image (MRI) findings (100%), typical histopathologic findings of a muscle infarct (100%) (ultrastructural evidence of microangiography in one patient); and a tendency toward spontaneous resolution although recurrences are common (51%).


Skeletal muscle infarction is a rare complication of long standing, poorly controlled DM associated with multiple end organ microvascular sequelae. Increased clinical awareness is important for early recognition, particularly in a diabetic patient presenting with a painful thigh or leg swelling. MR imaging is the diagnostic study of choice, and in the appropriate clinical setting, may obviate the need for a muscle biopsy.

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