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January 1959

Orthopedic Management of Neuropathic Joints

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(1):115-121. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320010117020

In 1868 Charcot1 described the joint in tabes dorsalis, which since then has been commonly designated as Charcot's neuroarthropathy. Charcot's joint, however, is a feature of many other conditions, such as transverse myelitis, syringomyelia, and lesions of the peripheral nerves as seen in diabetic and alcoholic neuropathy and in leprosy. The occurrence, however, of this arthropathy, which in a very large percentage of cases is a manifestation of tertiary syphilis, has decreased rapidly in the past few years with modern control and treatment of syphilis.

At the New York Orthopaedic Hospital, 55 cases of neuroarthropathy, with involvement of 87 joints, have been treated since 1921. The last report on the subject from this institution was made in 1931 by Cleveland and Smith, in which four cases of Charcot's knee joint were discussed and knee fusion offered for the satisfactory management of the condition.

Charcot postulated that the degeneration of

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