Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Conditions in Older Adults

The accredited CME learning activity based on this article is offered under the auspices of the CE department of the University of Toronto. Participating physicians are entitled to one (1) MAINPRO-M1 credit by completing this program, found online at

Jerry Tenenbaum, MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto; Consultant in Rheumatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, University Health Network, Baycrest Geriatric Centre, Toronto, ON.

Musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions in the older patient cover the spectrum of those conditions affecting all age groups to those that are associated with advanced age. Polymyalgia rheumatica and pseudogout are two conditions which are seen predominately in older adults. While gout occurs more often in males in younger patients, both genders may present in the older population. Myositis in an older patient is more likely to be associated with neoplasia, so a search for common tumours should comprise part of the workup of that patient. Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy associated with malignancy should be considered in the older patient who presents with arthritis, long bone pain, and clubbing. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common arthritis in the older population. It is important to identify those patients who have clinical features of inflammation in order to provide that subgroup with appropriate anti-inflammatory treatment.

Key words: polymyalgia rheumatica, pseudogout, synovitis, osteoarthritis, myositis.