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Key Features

  • Consists of incomplete fibrous ankylosis (usually bilateral) of many or all joints of the body

  • Affects both sexes equally and occurs in approximately 1 in 2000–3000 live births

Clinical Findings

  • Upper extremity contractures usually consist of

    • Adduction of the shoulders

    • Extension of the elbows

    • Flexion of the wrists

    • Stiff, straight fingers with poor muscle control of the thumbs

  • Common deformities of the lower extremities include

    • Dislocation of the hips

    • Extension contractures of the knees

    • Severe club feet

  • Joints are fusiform and the joint capsules are decreased in volume due to lack of movement during fetal development

  • Muscle development is poor and may be represented only by fibrous bands


  • Clinical


  • Passive mobilization of joints is the early treatment

  • Removable splints combined with vigorous therapy are the most effective conservative treatment

  • However, surgical release of the affected joints is often necessary

  • Clubfoot associated with arthrogryposis is very stiff and nearly always requires surgical correction

  • Knee surgery, including capsulotomy, osteotomy, and tendon lengthening, is used to correct deformities

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