Joint and skeletal deformities in Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, and progressive supranuclear palsy

Mov Disord. 2006 Nov;21(11):1856-63. doi: 10.1002/mds.21058.


The objective of this study is to characterize clinical features of joint and skeletal deformities in Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Clinical information including age, gender, presence of deformity, initial symptom side, neuropsychological and motor features, family history, and treatment with levodopa/dopamine agonists was collected on consecutive patients with PD, MSA, and PSP evaluated at the Movement Disorders Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. In this series of 202 patients, 36.1% had deformities of the limbs, neck, or trunk, including 33.5% of PD, 68.4% of MSA, and 26.3% of PSP patients. "Striatal" hand and foot deformities were present in 13.4%, involuntary trunk flexion in 12.9%, anterocollis in 9.4%, and scoliosis in 8.4% of all patients. Patients with these joint and skeletal deformities had higher mean Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores (57.4 vs. 46.6; P < 0.01) and were more often treated with levodopa (69.9% vs. 50.4%; P < 0.01) than patients without deformity, independent of disease duration. Patients with striatal deformity were younger than patients without deformity (mean 60.4 vs. 68.6 years; P < 0.01), and they tended to have an earlier age of onset of initial parkinsonian symptoms (mean 54.7 vs. 62.5 years; P < 0.01). Furthermore, the side of striatal deformity correlated with the side of initial parkinsonian symptoms in all patients (100%) with striatal hand and in 83.3% of patients with striatal foot. Joint and skeletal deformities are common and frequently under-recognized features of PD, MSA, and PSP that often cause marked functional disability independent of other motor symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / etiology*
  • Joint Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / physiopathology*