How do I know if I have osteoarthritis?

A doctor can usually determine whether you have osteoarthritis by using a physical exam and x-rays. The symptoms of osteoarthritis are similar to several other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and gout, so you won’t know you have osteoarthritis until you consult a doctor.

The physical exam checks for swelling at the joint, a cracking sound when the joint moves, limited range of motion of the joint, tenderness when the joint is pressed, and pain when the joint moves. X-rays show whether the space between joints is narrower than it should be and may detect bone spurs or bones in the joint space that have been worn down, all of which are symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The only way you will know for sure if you have osteoarthritis is if you get the word from your doctor. Painful, stiff joints are the trademark symptoms of osteoarthritis, but many other conditions, ranging from Lyme disease to bone cancer, can cause joint symptoms.

There are key clues that your joint pain may be a result of osteoarthritis. Is the discomfort and stiffness worse in the morning after you wake up, but gradually get better during the day? Do your joints hurt after you exercise, but the pain diminishes when you rest? If so, you may have osteoarthritis. But leave that diagnosis to your doctor. 

Continue Learning about Osteoarthritis

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.