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The goals of testing are to distinguish osteoarthritis (OA) from other forms of arthritis and causes of joint pain and stiffness and to monitor the side effects of various treatments.

Laboratory tests
There is no specific laboratory test to diagnose OA. It is diagnosed using someone's personal and family medical histories, a physical exam, X-rays, and in some cases with an examination of synovial fluid from an affected joint. Tests that may be ordered to rule out other conditions and to evaluate the person's health include:

Non-laboratory tests

  • X-rays of the affected joints may show loss of cartilage, bone damage, bone spurs, and narrowing of the joint space but will frequently not show significant changes early in the disease.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – may also be used to examine affected joints

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