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What are the possible complications of osteoarthritis?

Possible complications of osteoarthritis include an increased risk of developing gout and chondrocalcinosis.

Gout

Gout is a common type of inflammatory arthritis, which is caused by high levels of urate that lead to sodium urate crystals forming in and around your joints. The changes that osteoarthritis causes in cartilage can encourage crystals to form within your joint. If you have both osteoarthritis and a high level of urate in your blood, you’re at an increased risk of developing gout.

The base of the big toe is a very common site for a painful attack of gout, and this is partly because this joint is the most common joint in the foot to be affected by osteoarthritis.

Chondrocalcinosis

Osteoarthritis can also encourage calcium pyrophosphate crystals to form in your cartilage. This is called calcification or chondrocalcinosis. It can happen in any joint, with or without osteoarthritis, but it’s most likely to occur in a knee already affected by osteoarthritis, especially in older people. The crystals will show up in x-rays and fluid samples taken from your joint.

Osteoarthritis tends to become more severe more quickly when calcium crystals are present. Sometimes the crystals can shake loose from the cartilage, causing a sudden attack of very painful swelling called acute calcium pyrophosphate crystal arthritis (acute CPP crystal arthritis), a type of calcium crystal disease. The old name acute CPP crystal arthritis was ‘pseudogout’.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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