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Osteoarthritis - Exams and Tests

In most cases, your doctor can tell you if you have osteoarthritis and recommend treatment based on your symptoms and by doing a physical exam. Your doctor may also do some other tests to be sure that the diagnosis is correct or to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

These tests may include:

  • A joint fluid studyA joint fluid study. A sample of the fluid that cushions the joint is removed and sent to the lab to look for the cause of joint pain and swelling.
  • X-raysX-rays. Pictures of the bones in a joint, such as the hip camera.gif or knee camera.gif, are taken to look for cartilage damage.
  • An arthroscopyAn arthroscopy. A thin, lighted tube called an arthroscope is placed inside a small cut made near the joint. The doctor uses the scope to look for problems on the surfaces of the joint and the soft tissues that surround it. This test is not done very often.

Other tests may include a urine test and one or more blood tests, such as:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 17, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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