Arthritis Q&A by Dr. Shiel
How is arthritis diagnosed?
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Arthritis is inflammation in a joint. Diagnosis is based on a history of joint pain, stiffness and/or warmth, redness or swelling and physical examination. The examination can demonstrate swelling and often limited range of motion of the joint. X-ray examination can support the diagnosis and often disclose the type of arthritis and it's severity.
Early diagnosis is important for early treatment. Many types of arthritis can progress without treatment. This can lead to permanent destruction of cartilage, bone, and ligaments, which can result in deformity and loss of function that is not reversible. Moreover, some forms of arthritis are associated with disease elsewhere in the body. To avoid injury to other body tissues, early diagnosis can be crucial.
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Last Editorial Review: 11/29/2006