Osteosclerosis of the terminal finger phalanges was assessed by means of a grading score in two age-matched groups of 96 females, each suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthrosis (OA), respectively, and in a sample of 894 males and females, above the age of 44 years, from Dutch small town populations. Cortical thickness of the therminal phalanges decreases markedly with age. Whereas in the age group 45-54 years, terminal phalangeal osteosclerosis is more pronounced in females, at higher ages the difference between the sexes disappears. The diameter of the terminal cortex increases gradually from the second to the fifth finger. No differences were found between the RA and the OA groups, nor were these groups different from the population survey except for a lower incidence of terminal phalangeal osteosclerosis in female osteoarthrotics between 45 and 55 years of age, compared to females of the same age group from the population sample.
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