How do doctors confirm if you have arthritis?

Doctors usually diagnose arthritis based on a patient's medical history, physical exam, x-rays, and blood tests. It's possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time. There are many forms of arthritis, and diagnosing the specific type you have can help your doctor determine the best treatment. During the physical exam, doctors examine the joints to see if they are swollen, red, and warm. They'll also want to see how well you can move your joints.

Ask for lab tests, x-rays, and other imaging tests (such as an ultrasound or MRI). X-rays can show the joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis. Other imaging tests may also be done. Ultrasound uses sound waves (not radiation) to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones. MRI images are more detailed than x-rays.

They can show damage to joints, including muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. A GP will perform a physical exam, check the joints for any swelling, and evaluate how easily they move. Your GP will also ask you about your symptoms.