There are no definitive tests to confirm osteoarthritis (OA). Your doctor may suspect OA based on symptoms, their pattern, and a physical exam. Imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasound, or MRI scan may be done to confirm the diagnosis or assess the amount of damage. A joint with OA will have lost some of the normal space that exists between the bones (joint space) which will be visible on an imaging test.
Blood and joint fluids may be tested to rule out other joint disorders with similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, or joint infections. Tests may include:
Degenerative joint disease of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 17, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Degenerative joint disease of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 25, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Osteoarthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Osteoarthritis/default.asp. Updated August 2013. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Sinusas, K. Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(1):49-56.
Last reviewed May 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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