Definition of Neurogenic Arthropathy

Degeneration of a joint, commonly the knee, as a consequence of neuropathy (impaired nerve function) that causes loss of sensation. Injuries occur to the affected joint because there is limited perception of pain or sense of the joint’s position relative to the body and its immediate environment (proprioception).

Neurogenic arthropathy sometimes called Charcot’s joints, often includes unrecognized fractures that do not heal properly because the joint is in continuous motion. As a result the joint becomes deformed and dysfunctional, changes that cause only mild discomfort because of the underlying neuropathy.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnostic path begins with recognition of the underlying neuropathy. X-RAY can usually confirm the damage to the joint. Treatment for neurogenic arthropathy aims to preserve joint structure and function to the extent possible and may include bone graft or surgery to stabilize the joint.

Some people are good candidates for joint replacement, though in progressive forms of neurogenic arthropathy the joint may continue to deteriorate around the prosthesis.

Conditions Associated with Neurogenic Arthropathy
AmyloidosisCharcot-marie-tooth (cmt) disease
DiabetesHansen’s disease (leprosy)
Spina bifidaSpinal cord injury

See also CHARCOT-MARIE-TOOTH (CMT) DISEASEFRACTUREINFECTIOUS ARTHRITISOSTEOARTHRITISRHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS.

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