Syphilis-Related Musculoskeletal Manifestations

  • Najia Hajjaj-Hassouni
  • Hanan Rkain


Syphilis is a chronic sexually transmitted infection due to the spirochetal bacterium Treponema pallidum (TP) subspecies Pallidum, the overall incidence of which is recently increasing among the sexually transmitted diseases. This increase concerns both congenital syphilis (early and late) and acquired syphilis. The natural history of the latter is stereotyped with a three-phase clinical evolution, primary, secondary, and tertiary, and can be also subdivided into early or “infectious syphilis” and late syphilis. This natural history includes not only the central nervous and the cardiovascular systems as well as gummatous infections but also many other sites, among them the musculoskeletal system. Syphilitic musculoskeletal manifestations (MSKM) remain rare. However they should be kept in mind because of the current recrudescence of the disease and because of their frequently misleading expression which contributed, among other syphilitic manifestations, to make the disease earn the name “great simulator.” Syphilitic MSKM are mainly related to the hematogenous dissemination of TP. The main lesions are bone involvement (osteochondritis, periosteitis and osteitis) and joint involvement, the pattern of which is in keeping with the clinical presentation of the disease. However, involvement of muscles, tendons, and their sheaths, as well as bursitis, although rare, has also been reported.


Syphilis Musculoskeletal syphilis Chondritis Osteitis Periosteitis Arthritis Muscle Tenosynovitis Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Najia Hajjaj-Hassouni
    • 1
  • Hanan Rkain
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RheumatologyMohammed VI University of Health Sciences (UM6SS)CasablancaMorocco
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Departments of Rheumatology and PhysiologyMohammed V UniversityRabatMorocco

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