You know it has to be one of the slow news days of the summer when virtually every news medium picks up the story of Takeru-Kobayashi, the world's champion hot-dog eater, who worried that he could not compete in the upcoming world contest because of arthritis of his jaw. Every news source quoted exactly the same thing, that the arthritis in his TM joint was interfering with his training and it might be impossible to compete. While not questioning his integrity (although he also threw in the recent death of his mother and the loss of a molar as other reasons he might lose) I was not so quick to believe in the stated diagnosis. Mr T-K is a young man and even though he has the peculiar habit of eating more than fifty hotdogs at a sitting, I thought that osteoarthritis of the TM joint unlikely. I would have expected perhaps sausage toes or bunions instead. So I went to the original source, Mr. T-K's own web site, where it was all clearly laid out. Unfortunately, clearly laid out in Japanese alone. In fact the only english was a comment from a fan who suggested an orthodontic procedure that helped him acquire a mouth aperture of 45 cm, and a logo stating that T-K belongs to the United Food Fighter Organization.(Don't bother googling, it's his own organization) Interestingly there was a photo of a bird, you guessed it, a swallow.
So my research came to a rather unsatisfactory end, no further ahead in my search for a true rheumatologic diagnosis. Mr T-K lost the competition , eating a measly 63 hot-dogs in twelve minutes, to the new champs 66. While I still don't believe that T-K suffers from arthritis, viewing the actual contest (and I'm not actually recommending it) will confirm, however, that there is ample evidence of psychiatric rather than rheumatologic pathology.