Joint Deformity: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2017

Joint deformity can have many different forms depending on the cause and the joint involved. The typical joint is an area where two bones join together. There is cartilage over the bones on each side of the joint. Ligaments bind the bones to give the joint stability. Surrounding the joint is a fluid-producing tissue called the synovium, and it is covered by a joint capsule. Tendons with their muscles and bursae are adjacent to joints and function in joint mobility. Deformity of the joint can occur with disease or injury to any of these structures of the joint. Diseases and injuries that cause joint deformity include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, cancer of bone or cartilage, osteomyelitis, trauma from sports or motor vehicle accidents, and fractures.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/18/2017

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