How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Posted on April 21st, 2021 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Arthritis, a condition that affects the joints and tissues around the joint, affects millions of people and leaves them struggling with daily pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the affected area. With more than 100 different types of arthritis, it can take multiple tests and examinations to fully understand and diagnose your condition.  

Take a look at the methods and tools doctors use to help accurately diagnose arthritis in their patients: 

Physical Examination

First, your doctor will want to look at the joints that you are concerned with. They will be checking for swelling, warmth, and redness in these areas. Your doctor will also want to see how well you can move your joints and whether or not you experience pain. This examination will be coupled with questions about your activity, experience with this problem, and family history. Depending on the type of arthritis they suspect you have, they will likely order some further tests.

Laboratory Tests

The laboratory tests will consist of testing different bodily fluids to pinpoint the cause and type of arthritis you have. The most commonly analyzed fluids include blood, urine, and joint fluid. Joint fluid is taken right from your joints in a simple procedure in which the area is numbed, and a needle is inserted to extract the liquid.


Imaging tests are helpful to detect problems within your joints that are causing you pain, discomfort, and stiffness. Some examples of these imaging tests include:

  • X-rays: An x-ray uses low radiation levels to create an image of your bones, can show signs of cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spurs. 
  • CT Scan – A computerized tomography (CT) scan takes x-rays from a multitude of angles to create a complete cross-section of the body’s internal structures. This scan can help visualize the bones and their surrounding soft tissues to identify any concerns.
  • MRI Scan – A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan combines radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create an incredibly detailed cross-section of the soft tissues throughout the body, including soft cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. 
  • Ultrasound – An ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, helps doctors see soft tissues and fluid around the joints. Ultrasounds can also be used to guide needle placement for needed injections. 

Orthopaedist in Connecticut

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you are dealing with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty group a call at (203) 337-2600 and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.