Older people with diabetes are 50% to 80% more likely to develop a physical disability than those without, according to a review of 26 studies.
There were no distinction made between type-1 and type-2 diabetes, but most of the data involved people over the age of 65, who are more likely to have type-2.
Ensuring all people with diabetes have access to the right care is hugely important.
The research is published in the journal the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Disability was defined as impaired mobility and the inability to perform normal activities such as bathing, eating, shopping or using transport.
The Australian researchers say the reasons behind the link are unclear, but high blood sugar levels may lead to muscle damage over time.