A Short History of Neuropathic Arthropathy

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Neuropathic joint disease or Charcot joints are a chronic form of a degenerative arthropathy that is associated with decreased sensory innervation of the involved joints. Neuropathic arthropathies are considered to be an accelerated osteoarthritis that is precipitated by trauma to a joint not protected by its proprioceptive or nociceptive reflexes. This process continues until destruction of the joint occurs. The etiology of Charcot joints has varied throughout history as different diseases have become less or more prominent. Some of the offenders include diabetic neuropathy, tabes dorsalis, syringomyelia, and congenital indifference to pain. The morphology and pathogenesis of this condition has intrigued the minds of many, including Musgrave, Charcot, Virchow, Eloesser, Soto-Hall, and Key.

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