Physical exam can show limited range of motion, grating of a joint with motion, joint swelling, and tenderness.
X-ray of affected joints will show loss of the joint space, and in advanced cases, wearing down of the ends of the bone and bone spurs.
Physical exam used in Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
The two most important diagnostic clues in the patient's history are the pattern of
joint involvement and the presence or absence of fever, rash, or other symptoms outside
the joints. As part of the physical examination, the doctor will touch and move the
patient's joint to evaluate swelling, limitations on the range of motion, pain on
movement, and crepitus (a cracking or grinding sound heard during joint movement).
Imaging techniques used in Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
There is no laboratory test that is specific for osteoarthritis. Treatment is usually based on the results of diagnostic imaging. In patients with OA, x rays may indicate narrowed joint spaces, abnormal density of the bone, and the presence of subchondral cysts or bone spurs. The patient's symptoms, however, do not always correlate with x ray findings. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography scans (CT scans) can be used to determine more precisely the location and extent of cartilage damage. >
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