Post-traumatic osteoarthritis

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 20 May 2020

Post-traumatic osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the forms of chronic post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic OA is common, accounting for ~12% of all OA and can account for ~50% of ankle OA, ~15% of shoulder OA, ~10% knee OA and ~2% of hip OA 1,2,4,6. Patients with post-traumatic OA are generally younger than those with primary/idiopathic osteoarthritis 1.

Post-traumatic OA can develop after joint injury including 1,2,5:

Post-traumatic OA can be due to immediate mechanical damage (e.g. osteochondral injury), as the sequelae of inflammation, or due to chronic biomechanical alternations from joint instability 1,6. There is a latency period that can range from 6-12 months to 10-20 years from the time of injury to post-traumatic OA symptoms onset 1

Post-traumatic OA can affect any joint but commonly 1,2,4,6:

Please see the main article, osteoarthritis, for a general overview of the radiographic features of OA. 

Post-traumatic OA should be considered alongside other causes of OA when mono-articular, asymmetrical, occurring in atypical sites (e.g. wrist, elbow), or occurring in younger-than-expected patients. Malunion, articular steps and intra-articular bodies may be present 6

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Cases and figures

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