Purpose of Review: The purpose of this paper is to review the distinct clinical and radiographic features that may lead to prompt diagnosis of rapidly progressive osteoarthritis (RPOA) and thus obviate unnecessary and costly diagnostic workup. Recent Findings: RPOA is uncommon but is more frequently seen in practice because of the aging population. RPOA is a destructive arthropathy that occurs most commonly in elderly women but can also be seen in patients that have sustained trauma. The dramatic radiologic manifestations of RPOA can lead to diagnostic confusion with other arthropathies, infection, and osteonecrosis. RPOA was originally described in the hip but may also involve the shoulder. The etiology of RPOA is not well understood, but subchondral fracture probably plays a role in the development of dramatic destruction of the joint that is seen in affected patients. Early diagnosis may reduce the complexity of surgical management. Summary: RPOA is an uncommon condition that occurs most frequently in elderly woman or in patients who have sustained trauma. Prompt recognition of the clinical and radiologic features of this arthropathy can reduce unnecessary diagnostic workup and complexity of surgical intervention.
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