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What is chondrocalcinosis?

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Chondrocalcinosis is a condition characterized by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystals in one or more joints that eventually results in damage to the affected joints. It most often affects the knee, wrist and pubic symphysis, the joint between the pubic bones in the front of the pelvis.

Some people with chondrocalcinosis have no signs or symptoms. Others may have:

  • Redness, warmth and swelling over the affected joints
  • Sudden, severe pain in the affected joint (pseudogout)

Chondrocalcinosis occurs most often in women older than age 50. It can be associated with:

  • Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
  • An inherited metabolic bone disease (hypophosphatasia)
  • Low blood levels of magnesium (hypomagnesemia)
  • An inherited disease in which too much copper accumulates in the body (Wilson's disease)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes

A doctor may confirm a diagnosis of chondrocalcinosis by X-rays of affected joints. Blood tests may also be done to rule out other diseases, such as osteoarthritis. Treatment depends on the severity of signs and symptoms but may include:

  • Injections of corticosteroids directly into the joint
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or indomethacin (Indocin, others)
  • Prednisone or colchicine for flares of pseudogout
  • Surgery, in severe cases

Last Updated: 04/11/2006
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