Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)*
A rare skeletal disorder characterized by unusual, new bone formation. The new bone forms most often where ligaments and tendons (connective tissues that connect bones) joint bone (entheseal area), but there is also a generalized hardening of bones and bone overgrowth (hyperostosis).
DISH can affect almost any part of the skeleton
Although these changes are most often seen in the spine, DISH can affect almost any part of the skeleton, including hips, knees, ankles, feet, shoulders, hands, and ribs. Many people with DISH do not have any symptoms, but in some cases the symptoms get worse over time (progressive) and become quite severe. The most common symptoms are pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion of the neck or upper back.
DISH is caused by the build up of calcium salts in the tendons and ligaments (calcification) and abnormal new bone growth
DISH is caused by the build up of calcium salts in the tendons and ligaments (calcification) and abnormal new bone growth (ossification) but the reason this happens is unknown. Researchers believe some combination of mechanical, genetic, environmental, and metabolic factors are involved. DISH is more common in people over 50 and in men. While there is no known cure for DISH, there are treatments that can help control symptoms.
Although diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) does not cause symptoms for everyone, many people DO experience symptoms that can be quite severe and become worse over time (progressive). (This is very important as most doctors say DISH does not cause symptoms or pain......this is changing, but slowly.) The upper part of the back and neck (thoracic and cervical spine) are the most commonly affected areas of the body; however, people with DISH may also have symptoms in other places like the feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, hands, ribs and even the head.