What is Neuropathic Arthritis?

Neuropathic arthritis

is a degenerative joint condition, especially in the weight-bearing joints. It can in fact be considered as osteoarthritis, but this one is caused by a neurological condition.

Neuropathic arthritis

is also referred to as neuropathic arthropathy and the affected joint is called a

Charcot joint


Neuropathic Arthritis

Neuropathic Arthritis and Charcot Joint:

Patients develop this neurologic osteoarthritis (not exactly osteoarthritis) condition that leads to joint damage, due to a nerve damage. Due to the damaged nerve, a person loses sensation (including that of pain) in the joint. So, even if there were to be any further injuries to the joint, due to the lack of pain, they would go unnoticed.

  • Once such a thing happens, the joint would become unstable and eventually suffer a permanent damage. The joint would just disintegrate and deform eventually.
  • It is mostly the knee joint that is bound to get damaged due to this problem, but other joints like the heel are also known to get affected. Single or multiple joints can get affected at once, although cases where more than three joints got affected simultaneously have been rarely observed.


As mentioned above, a damaged nerve is primarily responsible for a patient to develop a Charcot joint. But, what conditions actually lead to a nerve damage that causes obstruction to the transmission of pain signals?

  • People suffering from diabetic neuropathy are often the ones who suffer the most from Charcot joints. Other conditions that can lead to this joint degeneration problem are syphilis, syringomyelia (a condition related to the spinal cord), leprosy and amyloidosis associated neuropathy.
  • Alcoholics are also known to develop this joint problem.


The symptoms of this joint degeneration condition are not evident during the onset of joint deterioration. But as the joint begins to degenerate, swelling and stiffness with no pain or very less pain can be noticed. But as the deterioration continues, the pain would gradually become severe.

Before the onset of pain, the affected joint, even when flexed into abnormal positions does not cause any pain.


The treatment for

neuropathic arthritis

that leads to a Charcot joint depends on the stage of the disease. During the initial stages, application of braces can slow down the degeneration of the joint; if braces do not help, then a fusion surgery would be required. In case, joint fusion is not possible, a replacement surgery would be necessary.

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