Knee OA diagnosis

So you think you may have knee osteoarthritis? How do you find out? Did you know there are multiple forms of arthritis?

Three of the most commonly seen forms are:

Osteoarthritis: The most commonly seen, degenerative form of arthritis.

iStock-183817553Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can affect multiple joints in body, including the knee joint. Typically, the joints affected are symmetrical, which means it affects the same joint on both sides of the body. Autoimmune means that the disease attacks our own cells in our body. Rheumatoid arthritis breaks down normal tissue in our body which causes the lining of the joint to swell causing pain and stiffness.

Post-traumatic arthritis: A type of arthritis that occurs as a result of damage done to the knee (fracture, torn meniscus or knee ligaments).

A doctor or physical therapist will do a physical examination as well as ask relevant questions about your symptoms and medical history.

Some of the things doctors are looking for during the physical examination:

  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Crepitus (a cracking or grinding sensation which may elicit a noise) with movement
  • Joint warmth, redness or swelling
  • Pain when weight bearing on the knee (increased with prolonged walking or using stairs)
  • Range of motion
  • Altered gait mechanics (walking with incorrect mechanics)
  • Other joint involvement (possible rheumatoid arthritis)

Diagnostic imaging test:
X-ray: imaging test which reveals more detailed information about denser structures in the body such as your bones. X-rays can reveal and differentiate between different types of arthritis as well as detect degenerative narrowing of joint space and formation of bone spurs.

Other tests: Sometimes, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or a bone scan can be used to further evaluate the health of the bone and soft tissues of your knee.

A blood test can be used to rule in systemic related arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Posted in: Knee

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