Osteoarthritis Diagnosis and Treatment

During the physical exam, your doctor will look for soreness, edema, redness, and flexibility in the afflicted joint. Following are tests for diagnosis -

  • X-rays -Cartilage loss is shown by a narrowing of the area between the bones in your joint, which is not visible in X-ray pictures. Bone spurs around a joint can also be seen on an X-ray.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - It includes consuming only certain liquids and not drinking or eating anything. This method allows the intestine to rest. It is done if the disease symptoms are severe.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - An MRI produces comprehensive images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage, using radio waves and a strong magnetic field. An MRI isn't always required to diagnose osteoarthritis, although it can provide additional information in some circumstances.
  • Blood tests - Although no blood test exists to diagnose osteoarthritis, certain tests can help rule out other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fluid analysis of the joints -A needle may be used by your doctor to collect fluid from an inflamed joint. The fluid is then examined for inflammation to see if your discomfort is due to gout or infection instead of osteoarthritis.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis

For treating and managing osteoarthritis medicines and therapies are prescribed and when these two methods do not lead to betterment then surgery is suggested.



For treating Osteoarthritis medications are prescribed such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, various brands) for mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) for inflammation, and duloxetine for chronic pain.


  • Physical therapy is a type of treatment in which a physical therapist will prescribe some exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints, promote flexibility, and lessen pain. Regular mild exercise, such as swimming or walking, will promote easy movement.
  • Occupational therapy is a term used to describe a type of treatment where an occupational therapist will assist in figuring out how to perform regular tasks without aggravating already painful joint. If you have osteoarthritis in your hands, for example, a toothbrush with a large handle may make cleaning your teeth simpler. If you have knee osteoarthritis, a bench in the shower could assist ease the strain of standing.
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)is a type of electrical nerve stimulation that is used to treat pain, a low-voltage electrical current is used. Some people with knee and hip problems find it helpful in the short term.

Surgery and Procedures

If medications and conservative therapy are ineffective, then the doctor will prescribe some surgeries like -

  • Cortisone injections - This injection is given into the joint that may reduce discomfort for a few weeks. Your doctor numbs the region around the joint before injecting medication through a needle into the joint space. Because cortisone injections can increase joint degeneration over time, the number of shots you can get each year is usually limited to three or four.
  • Injections of lubricant - Hyaluronic acid injections may help reduce discomfort by providing cushioning in the knee. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally found in joint fluid.
  • Realignment of bones -An osteotomy may be beneficial if osteoarthritis has injured one side of your knee more than the other. A surgeon performs a knee osteotomy by making an incision through the bone above or below the knee and then removing or adding a wedge of bone. Your body weight is shifted away from the worn-out area of your knee as a result of this.
  • Joint replacement - It is a procedure that involves replacing a joint. A surgeon will remove the damaged joint surfaces and replace them with plastic and metal pieces during joint replacement surgery. Infections and blood clots are two surgical hazards. Artificial joints can wear out or become loose over time, necessitating replacement.

Lifestyle changes and self-care

Making some lifestyle changes will ease your pain and help in managing osteoarthritis. Follow these tips -

  • Knee Joint-Friendly Exercise -Do some exercises regularly that provide endurance and strengthen the muscles and joints.
  • Lose weight - Being overweight has more chances of getting osteoarthritis. Try maintaining a healthy body weight and body mass index.
  • Heat and cold compression - Use hot water and cold water for compression in the pain areas, it will reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Assistive equipment - These can assist in alleviating pressure and stress on the joints. Walking with a cane or walker relieves pressure on your knee or hip. Hold the cane in the hand that is opposite the leg that is bothering you.

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