Doctors make a diagnosis of OA based on a physical exam and history of symptoms. The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on a combination of the following factors:
- A description of symptoms
- The location and pattern of pain
- Certain findings in a physical examination
X-rays may be used to confirm a diagnosis and to make sure that no other type of arthritis is present.
Sometimes, blood tests are done. While blood tests cannot point to anything in particular that can help a doctor confirm the presence of OA, the tests can help the doctor rule out a different type of arthritis.
If fluid has accumulated in the body's joints, the doctor may remove some of the fluid with a process called joint aspiration and may examine the fluid under a microscope to rule out other diseases.