What is neurogenic arthropathy?

Neurogenic arthropathy is brought about by progressive destruction of the joint which is often rapid which develops since the individual could not sense pain. Understandably, he/she is not aware of the early indications of joint damage.

Any joint can be affected depending on where the nerve damage occurred. The commonly affected joints include the ankle and knee. Those who have diabetes are affected in the foot joints. Remember that only one joint is involved, not more than 2-3.

Possible causes

Once certain nerves are impaired, an individual could not sense pain. Various conditions such as diabetes, syphilis and spinal cord disorders can damage the nerves. The usual causes include stroke and diabetes.

Individuals who have nerve damage might impair the joint several times. Injuries can occur for years before the malfunction of the joint. Nevertheless, once it malfunctions, the joint can become permanently destroyed within a few months.

What are the symptoms?

Neurogenic arthropathy

In the early phases, neurogenic arthropathy is strikingly similar to osteoarthritis since the joints are rigid and fluid builds up.

In the early phases, neurogenic arthropathy is strikingly similar to osteoarthritis since the joints are rigid and fluid builds up. Take note that pain is the early symptom. On the other hand, since the capability to sense pain is usually affected, the severity of pain is often surprisingly mild considering the degree of joint damage.

If the condition rapidly progresses, the joint can become extremely painful. In such cases, the joint is swollen due to the surplus fluid and abnormal growth of bone. It might appear deformed since it has been fractured and ligaments were stretched, allowing the loose bone pieces and cartilage to slid out of place. Joint movements can trigger coarse, grating sound due to the bony fragments floating in the joint.

How is it diagnosed

A doctor suspects neurogenic arthropathy if an individual has a condition that affects the nerves and has usual indications of joint issues. An x-ray is used to detect damage to the joint which often includes deposits of calcium and abnormal bone growth and deformities.

Preventive measures

It is vital to avoid injuries and always use protective wear such as special boots or splints. Oftentimes, neurogenic arthropathy can be prevented with proper care of the feet as well as avoidance of injuries.

These specialized boots or splints can help protect joints that are vulnerable to damage.

Management

The treatment for the underlying nerve condition can oftentimes slow down or even reverse the joint damage. The diagnosis and immobilization of painless fractures and splinting unstable joints can stop or minimize the damage.

The knee and hip joints can be surgically repaired or replaced. Nevertheless, the artificial joints might loosen and dislocate prematurely.

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