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Charcot osteoarthropathy of the knee secondary to neurosyphilis: a rare condition managed by a challenging arthrodesis
  1. Alfredo Figueiredo,
  2. Rui Ferreira,
  3. Carlos Alegre,
  4. Fernando Fonseca
  1. Orthopaedic Surgery Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Alfredo Figueiredo, alfredojfigueiredo{at}


The Charcot joint or neuropathic osteoarthropathy was first described as an arthritic sequela of neurosyphilis (tabes dorsalis). It results in significant joint destruction and instability. Nowadays, it is a very rare condition and represents a considerable challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon. The authors describe the case of a patient diagnosed with neurosyphilis who was requested an orthopaedic consultation for an enlarged and unstable knee. The diagnosis of Charcot knee was made and based on the clinical and radiographical findings combined with the patient’s medical history. Knee arthrodesis was the surgical treatment chosen to preserve the limb and only succeeded at second attempt. At 4 years of follow-up, it proved to be an effective surgical treatment. In this article, we focus on the importance of early recognition of joint changes in these patients in order to prevent irreversible joint loss.

  • infection (neurology)
  • orthopaedics
  • osteoarthritis
  • syphilis
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  • Contributors AF and RF treated the patient. AF wrote the manuscript. CA and FF were the senior orthopaedic surgery consultants who reviewed the manuscript.

  • Funding No funding was provided for the development of this research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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