Radiographic features of a Charcot joint (mnemonic)

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 12 Oct 2021

The radiographic features of a Charcot joint can be remembered by using the following mnemonics:

  • 5 Ds or
  • 6 Ds (separating disorganization and dislocation)


  • Density change (subchondral osteopenia or sclerosis)
  • Destruction (osseous fragmentation and resorption)
  • Debris (intra-articular loose bodies)
  • Distension (joint effusion)
  • Disorganisation and Dislocation (joint malalignment due to ligamentous laxity)

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 3
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