Ultrasound Finds Distinct Ankle Pathologies In Rheumatic Diseases

x-ray of ankle
x-ray of ankle
Ultrasonography detects different ankle pathologies in various inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

HealthDay News — Patients with different types of inflammatory rheumatic diseases have distinct ankle pathological findings on ultrasonography, according to research published online in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Halil Harman, MD, and Ibrahim Tekeoglu, from the Sakarya University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey examined ankle pathologies using high-resolution ultrasonographic images in 142 randomly selected patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease and clinically swollen or painful ankle joints (69 with rheumatoid arthritis [RA], 58 with spondyloarthropathies [SpA], and 15 with gout). Patients’ foot function was assessed using the Foot Function Index (FFI).

The researchers found that 98.6% of joints were tender and 72.9% were swollen among all patients; on ultrasound, 82.1% of joints were pathological. Patients with SpA and gout more often had tibiotalar joint synovitis (<.05). The RA group more often had tibialis posterior (TP) tenosynovitis than other groups (<.001). Compared with the other groups, the early RA group more often had subtalar and talonavicular joint synovitis (<.05). At more than 1 year after RA diagnosis, tibiotalar joint synovitis was observed more frequently (<.05). In patients with RA, the best predictors of higher FFI scores were subtalar joint synovitis, TP tenosynovitis, and peroneus tenosynovitis.

“Almost all pathological conditions of the ankle joints and tendon have direct effect on foot functions,” the researchers wrote. “Further studies examining the pathological conditions affecting foot functions are warranted.”

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Harman H, Tekeoğlu I. Ankle pathologies in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases: a clinical and ultrasonographic study [published online March 12. 2017]. Int J Rheum Dis. doi:10.1111/1756-185X.13007

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