Medical Definition of Kashin-Beck disease

  • 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.

Kashin-Beck disease: A disorder of the bones and joints of the hands and fingers, elbows, knees, and ankles of children and adolescents who slowly develop stiff deformed joints, shortened limb length and short stature due to necrosis (death) of the growth plates of bones and of joint cartilage. The disorder is endemic in some areas of eastern Siberia, Korea, China and Tibet and is probably of environmental origin, as evidenced by the fact that it occurs in children who move into the endemic areas and children with it who move away get better. Selenium supplementation has no effect on established Kashin-Beck disease. Iodine deficiency should be corrected. It is clearly a factor in the disease. Also called Kashin-Bek disease. The people in the areas subject to the disorder called it big bone disease.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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