Bone and Joint Manifestations of Hypothyroidism

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Feb;24(4):282-90. doi: 10.1016/s0049-0172(95)80038-7.


Hypothyroidism is frequently accompanied by musculoskeletal manifestations ranging from myalgias and arthralgias to true myopathy and arthritis. A case is presented in which an arthropathic process in the hip was the isolated finding in a young man who was severely hypothyroid. Previous literature on bone and joint manifestations of hypothyroidism is reviewed, with emphasis on cases where such manifestations were the presenting symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. Most cases of arthropathic changes in adult-recognized hypothyroidism involved the knees and hands, while the hip and the epiphysis of the femoral head appear more commonly involved in children. Thyroid hormones have known effects at the cellular level on proliferation and differentiation of bone and cartilage. The hypothyroid state appears to induce abnormalities in these tissues, which result in such clinical manifestations as epiphyseal dysgenesis, aseptic necrosis, possibly crystal-induced arthritis, and an arthropathy characterized by highly viscous noninflammatory joint effusions primarily affecting the knees, wrists, and hands. Neuropathic and myopathic symptoms accompanying hypothyroidism may manifest as joint region abnormalities when in fact there is no underlying arthropathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications*
  • Joint Diseases / etiology*
  • Male
  • Thyroid Hormones / physiology


  • Thyroid Hormones