Clinical Features: A 62-year-old male truck driver (of 35 years) presented to a chiropractic clinic with pain and stiffness along the third metacarpal and MCP joint of the left hand. Examination revealed severe pain and limited flexion at the third MCP joint. Bilateral radiographs demonstrated severe osteoarthritis (OA) of this joint in the left (nondominant) hand and mild-to-moderate (asymptomatic) OA in the same joint on the right. Results of laboratory blood tests were unremarkable for metabolic, inflammatory, or infectious joint disease.
Intervention and Outcome: The patient was diagnosed with bilateral, third MCP joint OA associated with manual labor. He was treated unsuccessfully with a short course of low-level laser therapy, MCP joint mobilization, and hand-stretching exercises. After 3½ years, the patient continues to work despite ongoing and worsening symptoms. Three serial left hand radiographs are presented, highlighting the progressive nature of this arthropathy.
Conclusion: The differential diagnosis in patients presenting with manual labor MCP joint OA should include hemochromatosis and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystal deposition disease. Because of the increased risk of serious systemic disease, it is imperative that these latter 2 disorders are ruled out before the former is diagnosed.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text.