In contrast to acute inflammation in a joint (arthritis), there are no special markers in the blood that can be used for diagnosis in osteoarthritis. However, a blood test can exclude the arthritis. Other joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, must also be excluded. Only the acute phase of arthrosis can be detected in the blood by increased inflammation values, such as the blood sedimentation rate (BSG).
Diagnosis of arthrosis of the wrist and finger joints
When looking at (inspecting) the hand, swelling (due to an effusion in the joint), redness or overheating of affected joints may be detected. All finger joints as well as the wrist can be affected. However, it is also possible that none of these aspects are conspicuous despite existing diseases.
During the subsequent palpation of the hand, pressure pain can occur over the affected joints. However, this is not an inevitable criterion either. The doctor also checks the mobility of the joints. This is often limited in the case of arthrosis. In most cases, it is necessary to take x-rays of the hands to diagnose arthrosis in order to be able to accurately identify typical signs of changes in the bony structures.
Diagnosis of knee joint arthrosis
When diagnosing knee arthrosis, the first step is also to listen to the patient’s medical history and draw the right conclusions. In addition to the general symptoms, such as morning stiffness and pain, these patients often report complaints when climbing stairs. Malpositions, such as knock-knees or bow legs, can also lead to knee arthrosis and must be assessed by a doctor.
Other diseases that can lead to these complaints (e.g. hip arthrosis) must also be excluded. For further diagnosis, an X-ray of the knee is then taken to assess the extent of the bony changes. This is often carried out in conjunction with MRI images of the knee, as the cartilage can be better visualised. If the above-mentioned diagnostic options do not provide sufficient results, a joint endoscopy may be considered. However, since this involves a comparatively high risk, it is often used not only for diagnosis but also for therapy.
Diagnosis of hip joint arthrosis
A patient with hip arthrosis is often conspicuous simply by the fact that he or she shows a changed gait pattern. To relieve the affected side, a limp and an outwardly turned foot are usually seen. Palpation by the doctor is usually painful at a certain pressure point above the groin ligament.