Arthritis is a condition of joint damage.


In arthritis, the cushioning surface of the cartilage wears away causing symptoms like stiffness, pain and swelling.

Arthritis can be of several types like degenerative, inflammatory, infectious and so on. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is a degenerative arthritis.

Radiographic Evaluation of Arthritis

OsteoarthritisErosive OsteoarthritisSeptic ArthritisRheumatoid ArthritisAxial SpondyloarthritisPeripheral SpondyloarthritisGoutCPPD
DistributionWeight – bearing, repetitive useSymmetric, distalMonoarticularProximal, symmetric, large and/or small jointsAxial (symmetric SI joints, spine)Peripheral (asymmetric, sistal, +/- SI joints)Anywhere!Symmetric, non-weight bearing
DemographicsOlder (>55 yrs), male=female40-50 yrs, femaleRisk factors (DM, surgery/intervention, bacteremia)30-50 yrs, female20-40 yrs, male (AS)20-40 yrsRick factors (Renal failure, obesity, medications)
Joint space narrowingNon-uniform, loose bodies, chronic courseNon-uniform, early aggressive phaseUniform, rapidUniformUniformUniform, joint space may be preserved even with erosionsNormal, non-uniformNon-uniform
BoneSubchondral sclerosis, osteophytesOsteophytesBone loss/destruction adjacent to ST abnormalityOsteoarthritis, no body proliferationSmooth flowing syndesmophytes, ankylosisPeriostitis, ankylosis, bulky syndesmophytesSubchondral sclerosis, osteophytes
Cysts, ErosionsSubchondral cystsCentral “gull-wing” erosionsJoint-centered erosionsMarginal erosionsSpondylitis, enthesitisIll-defined “fluffy” erosions, enthesitis, spondylitisWell-defined erosions with overhanging edges (“rat-bite”)Large subchondral cysts, out of proportion to degree of joint narrowing
Soft Tissue+/- Joint effusionSwellingSwelling, soft tissue infection (abscess, ulcer, gas)Swelling/synovitis, bursitis, Rh nodules, tenosynovitisDactylitis, nail pitting or onycholysisTophus (“lumpy bumpy”; calcified), bursitisChondrocalcinosis