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Osteoid osteomas that arise at the end of a long bone, within the insertion of the joint capsule (juxta-articular, intra-articular), may cause misleading clinical, radiographic, and histologic findings, resulting in unnecessary diagnostic tests and a delay in definitive treatment. To clarify optimum diagnostic procedures, we reviewed 20 cases of juxta-articular osteoid osteomas and found a mean delay from presentation to correct diagnosis of 24 months. Plain radiographs were either negative or showed only secondary changes. A periosteal reaction and proliferative synovitis with chronic inflammation was common, which could be misinterpreted as rheumatoid arthritis. Optimum diagnostic procedures were a bone scan followed by plain tomograms and an excisional biopsy of the nidus.