How is osteoarthritis in the knee or the hip diagnosed?

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is usually carried out, when the patient comes with complaints of pain, restricted movement, and other systems. The problem with diagnosis at the stage where there are symptoms, is that the complaint proves that the phenomenon has already reached an advanced stage. Osteoarthritis, once created, is usually irreversible. The development may be slowed down, but the condition of the cartilage cannot be returned to what it was previously.

A physical examination is conducted by an orthopedic surgeon, preferably one who is a specialist in the treatment of osteoarthritis, and joint replacement. The doctor will listen to the complaints and will conduct a physical examination of the damaged joint.

A simple x-ray is the accepted method of diagnosing osteoarthritis.

The characteristics in an x-ray image of a joint’s eroded cartilage include:

  • Narrowing of the gaps in the joint
  • Osteophytes the creation of bone around the joint
  • Calcification and cysts are created under the cartilage in the joint, in the areas of friction between the bones

MRI – it is usual to perform an MRI in the early stages of the phenomenon, where an x-ray image simply cannot locate the local, or initial, erosion.

CT is rarely used for diagnosis, and not in the initial stages of the disease. It is an accepted form of diagnostic test where there is a suspicion of avascular necrosis of the bone (AVN)