A patient presenting with destructive arthropathy of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints of the hands is described. She was initially believed to have rheumatoid arthritis but non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were of no help. The patient was subsequently found to have hypothyroidism and erosive osteoarthritis of the fingers. Joint swelling, pain and stiffness responded dramatically to thyroid hormone substitution. The PIP joint spaces reappeared on the radiographs within 9 months. This case suggest that hypothyroidism may induce destructive arthropathy of the finger joints. As thyroxine replacement may reverse the rheumatic complaints, hypothyroidism should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a destructive arthropathy of unclear aetiology.
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