The terms erosive or inflammatory osteoarthritis refer to an inflammatory condition of the interphalangeal joints of the hand. In this report, observations of 15 patients with erosive osteoarthritis are described. The principal clinical features are symmetrical synovitis of the interphalangeal joints of the hand, the knees, and the first carpometacarpal, interphalangeal, and metacarpophalangeal joints. The principal roentgenographic features are productive and destructive osseous changes. These changes, found particularly at the interphalangeal joints of the hand, consist of both central and peripheral articular erosions and cysts associated with adjacent osteophyte formation. Serologic abnormalities commonly found in rheumatoid arthritis are rarely encountered. In two thirds of the patients, the synovial fluid is noninflammatory; in the remainder, it is mildly to severely inflammatory. The injection of intra-articular corticosteroids predictably results in decreased synovitis but does not seem to affect the subsequent development of erosions.
(Arch Intern Med 138:693-697, 1978)