Neuropathic arthritis, also known as Charcot’s joint or neurogenic arthropathy, is a severe form of arthritis where the cartilage between bones has been completely worn down and the joint has been severely damaged from continued friction. This usually occurs when the nerve that sends pain signals from the joint to the brain is damaged, causing the patient to be unaware of progressive joint damage.
This type of arthritis often occurs in conjunction with another illness that causes nerve damage—most commonly diabetes, but also advanced syphilis, spinal cord disorders, and past stroke. Symptoms can include mild pain in the beginning (not correlational to the degree of joint damage), swelling or deformity of the joint, and even a grating sound during movement.
Treatment of the underlying nerve condition is paramount in these cases, followed by the immobilization and reparation of the joint through splinting and, often, surgery.
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