Radiographic evaluation of arthritis: degenerative joint disease and variations

Radiology. 2008 Sep;248(3):737-47. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2483062112.


In the presence of joint space narrowing, it is important to differentiate inflammatory from degenerative conditions. The presence of osteophytes, bone sclerosis, and subchondral cysts and the absence of inflammatory features such as erosions suggest osteoarthritis. Typical osteoarthritis involves specific joints at a particular patient age. When osteoarthritis involves an atypical joint, occurs at an early age, or has an unusual radiographic appearance, then other causes for cartilage destruction should be considered, such as trauma, crystal deposition, neuropathic joint, and hemophilia. There are several types of arthritis, such as juvenile chronic arthritis and gouty arthritis, that may have a variable appearance compared with that of other common inflammatory arthritides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arthrography / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis*