Which Tests Should I Get to Check for Osteoarthritis?

We recently had a question asked to us via our Get Answers page and decided to share it:

Their Question:

I have been told I have osteoarthritis but have had no tests how do I know apart from the stiffness and the pain I have please.

Our Answer:

Thank you for your question about diagnosing Osteoarthritis. I hope this answers your question. Please let us know if you have any more questions.

A doctor can usually tell a patient has osteoarthritis based on the patient’s history and physical exam. If the patient has stiff, achy joints, it could be osteoarthritis. However, a doctor could order these tests, mostly to make sure that its not something else:

• Blood tests can rule out some causes of joint pain, like rheumatoid arthritis or Lyme disease.

• Your doctor can draw fluid from inside a swollen joint. This fluid can be tested to be sure an infection or gout isn’t causing the swelling and pain.

• X-rays can be used to see bone spurs (osteophytes) around the joint. Sometimes, people with osteoarthritis develop these bone spurs, so having them is a sign of osteoarthritis.

• CT scans and MRI’s can be used to get a picture inside the painful joint to see if there is damage, like loss of cartilage, and how extensive it is. Loss of cartilage is a sign of osteoarthritis.

• Ultrasounds help find cysts in the joint area. Usually, osteoarthritis does not cause cysts but cysts can cause joint pain.

Arthritis Research Institute of America

For more useful information with identifying osteoarthritis, view our blog posts The Warning Signs of Osteoarthritis and How Do You Know if You Have Osteoarthritis?.

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