Tuberculosis (musculoskeletal manifestations)

Musculoskeletal tuberculosis is always secondary to a primary lesion in the lung.


The prevalence of the disease is around 30 million globally and 1-3% of the 30 million have involvement of their bones and/or joints. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is responsible for almost all of the cases of osteoarticular tuberculosis; although atypical mycobacteria have been reported in lesions of the synovial sheath.

The predisposing factors are protein-energy malnutrition, environmental conditions and living standards such as poor sanitation, overcrowded housing and slum dwelling. Trauma as a causative factor is debatable, but has been reported. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and other causes of immunocompromised status and repeated pregnancies and lactation in women are also a factor.


Osteoarticular tuberculosis can occur in the spine, hip, knee, foot, elbow, wrist, hand, shoulder and as diaphysial foci. It has not been reported to affect the mandible or the temporomandibular joint. The major method of spread is haematogenous. The most common method of spread to the vertebral body is through the Batson prevertebral venous plexus.

Osteoarticular tuberculosis is reported in various sites including:

Article information

rID: 27417
Section: Approach
Tag: pm
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Musculoskeletal manifestations of tuberculosis
  • Osteoarticular tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis of bones and joints
  • TB musculoskeletal manifestations
  • Skeletal manifestation of tuberculosis

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: osteitis tuberculosa multiplex cystoides
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3: affecting knee
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