Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Osteoarthritis Diagnosis

Your healthcare provider may use a combination of your health history, a physical examination, imaging tests, and lab tests to officially diagnose17 osteoarthritis. You will likely discuss your physical activity, symptoms, and medication use during the health history portion of your consultation. During the physical exam, your provider will look at your affected joints and may attempt to move your limbs to determine your range of motion.

Your provider may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). X-rays can be used to show joint or bone damage related to OA, while an MRI can help your healthcare provider visualize the affected cartilage or other parts of the joint.

Your healthcare provider may opt to perform a procedure called joint aspiration, during which fluid is extracted from the joint using a needle. This fluid can be examined under a microscope to check for signs of an infection or the presence of crystals, both of which can indicate OA.

Blood tests cannot positively diagnose osteoarthritis. However, they can be used to help rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Do I have osteoarthritis?

It can be difficult to differentiate between osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis or pain caused by an injury. Both the severity and occurrence of symptoms can vary for people with OA. If your symptoms are persistent or affect your daily life, you should talk to your healthcare provider about receiving the proper diagnosis.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.