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J Rheumatol. 2012 Feb;39(2):359-64. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.110718. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Relation of hand enthesophytes with knee enthesopathy: is osteoarthritis related to a systemic enthesopathy?

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  • 1Departments of Clinical Epidemiology, Rheumatology and Radiology, Boston University Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.



Enthesopathy has been reported as a feature of osteoarthritis (OA) in the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints. We previously reported that central bone marrow lesions (BML) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are associated with OA. In this study, we evaluated whether hand and knee enthesopathy were related.


We studied knee and hand radiographs of subjects from the Framingham Osteoarthritis Study. Subjects seen in 2002-2005 had bilateral posteroanterior hand radiographs, weight-bearing knee radiographs, and knee MRI scans. Hand radiographs were read for enthesophytes at the juxtaarticular nonsynovial areas of metacarpophalangeal (MCP), proximal interphalangeal (PIP), and DIP joints, and midshafts of the phalanges. We selected 100 cases of knees with central BML and 100 matched controls. Conditional logistic regression was used to assess associations.


Subjects with enthesophytes of at least 1 score ≥ 2 at DIP, PIP, and/or MCP were not more likely to have central knee BML (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.17-1.40) than those without enthesophytes. Similarly, having at least 1 score ≥ 2 on the shafts was not significantly associated with having a central knee BML (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.23-1.51). Adjustment for the presence of diabetes mellitus did not affect these results, but there was an increased prevalence of diabetes in those with hand enthesophytes (OR 3.09, 95% 1.29-7.40, enthesophyte score ≥ 2).


We found no increase in the prevalence of hand enthesophytes among persons with central knee BML on their knee MRI scans. This provides evidence against a systemic enthesopathic disorder in association with knee OA.

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