Close

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
You are here:
> > > > How is osteoarthritis of the knee diagnosed?

How is osteoarthritis of the knee diagnosed?

Your doctor will make a diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee based on your symptoms and an examination. During the examination, they’ll check for:

  • tenderness over your knee
  • creaking and grating (crepitus)
  • bony swelling
  • excess fluid
  • restricted movement
  • instability of your knee
  • thinning of the muscles that support your knee.

What tests are there for osteoarthritis of the knee?

X-rays are the most useful tests to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, although they won’t often be needed. X-rays may show changes such as osteophytes, narrowing of the space between bones and calcium deposits within your joint.

X-rays aren’t a good indicator of how much pain or disability you’re likely to have – some people have a lot of pain from minor joint damage but others have little pain from severe damage.

Your doctor may suggest you have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on your knee, which will show the soft tissues (e.g. cartilage, tendons, muscles) and changes in the bone that can’t be seen on a standard x-ray. This is quite rare though.

There’s no blood test for osteoarthritis but they can be used to rule out other conditions.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.