Did you know that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is also known as a degenerative joint disease? This is the “wear and tear” of your joints. Osteoarthritis affects almost everybody in some manner as they grow older.
“So what tests should I have done to check for osteoarthritis?”
Usually, a doctor would be able to tell if a patient has osteoarthritis from a physical exam and a look into the patient’s history. Stiff, achy joints are common signs of osteoarthritis. Your orthopedic doctor could order the following tests to confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis:
- X-rays may be taken to see possible bone spurs (also known as osteophytes) around the joint. Bone spurs can be a sign of osteoarthritis.
- MRI’s and CT scans can be used to view the inside of your painful joint. This allows the doctor to see if there is a loss of cartilage as well of the extent of the deteriorating joint. Loss of cartilage can also be a sign of osteoarthritis.
Also, a doctor may test you for other issues to find out if osteoarthritis actually is the cause of your joint pain. Your doctor will most likely order the following tests to rule out other possibilities:
- Certain blood tests can show if your joint pain is caused by something else, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Lyme Disease.
- Ultrasounds can also be used on the joint area to find possible cysts. Cysts can cause joint pain and lead patients to believe they may have osteoarthritis.
- Your doctor may decide to draw fluid directly from a swollen joint to test for infection or gout which both cause joint pain and swelling.