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OBJECTIVE: To assess the long-term prevalence, natural history, progression, and incidence of radiographic first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS: A longitudinal cohort design was used in which radiographic OA at the first MTP joint was investigated in participants from the Chingford 1,000 Women Study at year 6 (1995) and year 23 (2013-2015). Radiographic features of osteophytes (OPs) and/or joint space narrowing (JSN) at the first MTP joint were scored according to a validated foot atlas. Natural history was determined by the change in prevalence, incidence, progression, and worsening of OA in the first MTP joint. RESULTS: Complete case-matched foot radiographic data were available for 193 of the women currently enrolled in the study (mean ± SD age 75.7 ± 5.2 years [range 69-90 years]). At the level of the first MTP joint, prevalence of OA at year 6 was 21.76% in the left and 24.35% in the right; at year 23, it was 23.83% in the left and 32.64% in the right. Over the 19-year period, 13.5% of the women developed incident OA in the right first MTP joint and 8.3% in the left. Both progression and worsening of OA were more evident for OPs and in the right first MTP joints. CONCLUSION: In this study of the natural history of radiographic first MTP joint OA, which to our knowledge is the longest study to date, the prevalence and incidence of first MTP joint OA increased over a 19-year period. Progression and/or worsening of OA at the first MTP joint over time appears to be driven by OP development rather than JSN, which suggests a biomechanical cause.

Original publication




Journal article


Arthritis care res (hoboken)

Publication Date





1224 - 1230


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Disease Progression, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Metatarsophalangeal Joint, Osteoarthritis, Prevalence, Radiography