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Basic Calcium Phosphate Crystal Deposition Disease and Calcium Oxalate Crystal Deposition Disease

By

Brian F. Mandell

, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Basic calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate are chemical compounds that occur naturally in the body. These compounds can form crystals that cause joint symptoms similar to those of gout Gout Gout is a disorder in which deposits of uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints because of high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia). The accumulations of crystals cause flare-ups ... read more Gout (including podagra), calcium pyrophosphate arthritis Calcium Pyrophosphate Arthritis Calcium pyrophosphate arthritis (preciously called pseudogout) is a disorder caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals in the joint cartilage, leading to intermittent attacks... read more (previously called pseudogout), or sometimes other joint disorders. Basic calcium phosphate crystals and calcium oxalate crystals can also form in tendons and connective tissues.

Basic calcium phosphate crystal deposition disease

Basic calcium phosphate crystals can destroy joints and cause severe inflammation in and around the joint.

Milwaukee shoulder syndrome, which is a destructive disorder that mostly affects the shoulders and often the knees in older women, is one example.

Acute pseudopodagra is another joint disorder caused by basic calcium phosphate crystals and can mimic gout. It affects the joints of the big toe and occurs in young women (less often young men).

Diagnosis

  • X-rays

  • Microscopic examination of joint fluid

To check for these crystals, doctors take x-rays X-rays A doctor can often diagnose a musculoskeletal disorder based on the history and the results of a physical examination. Laboratory tests, imaging tests, or other diagnostic procedures are sometimes... read more X-rays . Basic calcium crystals are sometimes visible on x-rays around the joints, and not usually in the joint cartilage.

Doctors may also need to use a needle to withdraw joint fluid (joint aspiration Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) A doctor can often diagnose a musculoskeletal disorder based on the history and the results of a physical examination. Laboratory tests, imaging tests, or other diagnostic procedures are sometimes... read more Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) ) and test it for these crystals. Calcium oxalate crystals are visible under a microscope with polarized light, but basic calcium phosphate crystals, which are much smaller, usually can be seen only with a special stain or a special type of microscope (a transmission electron microscope).

Treatment

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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Reactive Arthritis
Reactive arthritis causes inflammation of the joints and the tendon attachments at the joints. It is called “reactive” because it frequently occurs in reaction to an infection. In which of the following organs is such an infection most likely to occur? 
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