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How is shoulder osteoarthritis diagnosed?

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The doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam to check pain, tenderness, and loss of motion. They'll also look for other signs in surrounding tissues. At this point, the doctor may be able to tell if the muscle near the joint has signs of of weakness from lack of use.

Tests you may have include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests, mainly to look for rheumatoid arthritis, but also to exclude other diseases
  • Removal of synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid in the lining (synovium) of the joint, for analysis
  • MRI scans

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Arthritis of the Shoulder.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Injection of the Shoulder Region.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Disease Center: Osteoarthritis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): “Shoulder Problems.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on November 4, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Arthritis of the Shoulder.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Injection of the Shoulder Region.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Disease Center: Osteoarthritis.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): “Shoulder Problems.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on November 4, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

What treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis do not involve surgery?

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