The radiological residua of healed diabetic arthropathies

Skeletal Radiol. 1981;7(3):167-72. doi: 10.1007/BF00361859.


Diabetic arthropathy is a relatively rare manifestation of neuropathic disease, occurring in fewer than 5% of cases. Abnormalities of this type are confined largely to the small joints of the feet, although the larger joints of the lower limbs and the spine occasionally are affected. Some lesions, particularly in the feet, repair spontaneously, leaving radiological residua sufficiently characteristic to prompt suspicion of an unrecognised diabetic state. These include deformity of the head of the second metatarsal (akin to a Freiberg lesion), shortening of the great toe, painless deforming arthrosis of the knee, and ankylosis of interphalangeal joints. In the presence of these signs the patient should be interrogated concerning diabetes and blood sugar estimates, with provocation of necessary, obtained. Should such a diagnosis be sustained, appropriate protective measures may be undertaken to avoid a relapse of the arthropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Foot / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography