Osteoarthritis is a painful disease and causes loss of confidence in older patients. This disease is slowly progressive and the joints that are most commonly affected are hands, knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis is often asymmetric. Patients may have severe, debilitating osteoarthritis with one knee whereas the opposite leg functions normally.
One of the procedures for diagnosing any joint/ muscle related disease, a doctor performs physical examination of the patient. This helps the doctor rule out the severity of the condition and provides with a better treatment options. During a physical exam pain on range of motion and limitation on range of motion are the common features to all forms of osteoarthritis. But each examination can be different depending on the patient’s condition and severity of the disease. While performing a physical exam there is pain in range of motion, limitation in movement of hands or legs especially external rotation. Crackling of bones during range of movement.
X-Rays: Your doctor shall recommend image testing based on joint tenderness, swelling, redness and flexibility. Although cartilages of joints aren’t visible on the X-ray images, but cartilage can be observed by narrowing of the space between bones in your joints. X-ray also shows bone spurs around a joint.
MRI scan: Magnetic Resonance testing or widely known MRI scan uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of bones and soft tissues, including cartilage. MRI isn’t commonly needed to diagnose osteoarthritis but can help provide better diagnosis and information in complex cases. This helps doctors give a proper direction on what treatment regimen to proceed with.
Analyzing your blood or joint fluid can help confirm the diagnosis. Although there’s no blood test as such for osteoarthritis, certain test can help find out the other causes that are related to joint pain. Another lab test performed is joint fluid analysis. A needle is used to draw fluid from an affected joint. The fluid is then sent to test for inflammation and to determine whether your pain is caused by gout or an infection other than osteoarthritis.