Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Clinical and laboratory studies of arthritis in leprosy.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 27 May 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:1423
  1. S. L. Atkin,
  2. A. el-Ghobarey,
  3. M. Kamel,
  4. J. P. Owen,
  5. W. C. Dick
  1. Department of Radiology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne.


    Arthritis associated with leprosy is underreported. In Egypt 66 patients from a leprosy colony were studied, 20 of whom had arthropathy. This was characterised by an inflammatory symmetrical peripheral polyarthritis. The wrist, metacarpal and proximal interphalangeal joints of the hands, the knees, and the metatarsophalangeal joints of the feet were affected with associated morning stiffness. The arthritis was erosive in 11 out of 20 patients, had no features of the arthritis associated with erythema nodosum leprosum reactions, but symptomatically responded to antileprosy treatment. This arthritis would seem to be a previously unrecognised feature of leprosy.