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A 65 year old white woman presented with a 5 year history of pain and intermittent swelling of the left ankle. There had been no preceding trauma to the ankle and the symptoms were initially gradual in onset with aching and stiffness but then evolved into a continuous pain, particularly nocturnally. Her previous medical history included a right total hip replacement aged 53, menopause aged 53, and essential hypertension. There was no family history of rheumatological illness and her mother died of a myocardial infarction aged 56 years.
Examination disclosed evidence of osteoarthritis in her hands and an unusual symmetrical bony swelling of her 1st and 2nd metacarpophalangeal joints. Her left ankle was swollen and warm to the touch (fig 1).
Investigations disclosed …
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