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How is osteoarthritis of the knee diagnosed?

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The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will also take your medical history and note any symptoms. Make sure to note what makes the pain worse or better to help your doctor determine if osteoarthritis, or something else, may be causing your pain. Also find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. Your doctor may order additional testing, including:

MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.

  • X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Arthritis of the Knee."

Familydoctor.org: "Osteoarthritis of the knee."

Arthritis Foundation: "Osteoarthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): "Knee Problems" and "Arthritis: Handout on Osteoarthritis."

Reviewed by David Zelman on January 11, 2017

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Arthritis of the Knee."

Familydoctor.org: "Osteoarthritis of the knee."

Arthritis Foundation: "Osteoarthritis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): "Knee Problems" and "Arthritis: Handout on Osteoarthritis."

Reviewed by David Zelman on January 11, 2017

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How is osteoarthritis of the knee treated?

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