Ten posterior subtalar joints of 8 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 12 posterior subtalar joints of 6 cadavers were studied by contrast synoviography. In the rheumatoid group the abnormalities included posterior capsule distension, filling defects caused by hypertrophic synovitis, limited or irregular filling of the anterior recess of the joint in 5 out of 10, and communication with the ankle joint in 3 out of 10. None of the cadaveric joints showed posterior capsule distension or limited or irregular filling of the anterior recess of the joint, but communication with the ankle was present in 2 joints. The joints of the patients were injected with a 1:1 mixture of sodium iothalamate 70% (Conray 420) and triamcinolone hexacetonide (Lederspan) 20 mg/ml. All patients noticed a decrease in and an improvement in walking beginning 24-48 hours after the examination. Quantitative thermography was done immediately before and 1 after injection in 2 patients who showed an improvement in thermographic index. We conclude that hindfoot inflammatory pain arising from the posterior subtalar joint is caused by distension with hypertrophic synovitis which can be difficult to detect clinically.
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