Arthritis Diagnosis

Most cases of arthritis are diagnosed with a detailed medical history of current and past symptoms, physical examination and particular radiographic and laboratory studies. It is possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time, and only a few rheumatic diseases have a definitive diagnosis, such as gout. Arthritis Diagnosis.


Diagnosing arthritis depends on the type of arthritis suspected. Arthritis Diagnosis. Some tests that may be completed to make a diagnosis are:

In evaluating arthritis, the doctor uses X-rays to rule out injury or other diseases of the joint, to have a baseline for comparison while being treated for arthritis and to look at the structures of a particular joint or joints.
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Anti-CCP antibody
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • C-reactive protein
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Joint ultrasound or MRI
  • Joint X-ray
  • Bone scan
  • Synovial fluid analysis
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA)
  • HLA antigens for HLA B27
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Aspiration of joint fluid for cell count, examination of crystals under the microscope, gram stain and culture
  • Blood culture
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Synovial biopsy
  • Uric acid – urine
  • Uric acid – blood
  • Schirmer’s test of tear production,¬†Arthritis Diagnosis.
  • Salivary gland biopsy
  • Tear test
  • Slit lamp examination of the eyes
  • Urinalysis.

Arthritis Diagnosis – With osteoarthritis, a physical exam can show:

  • Joint movement that causes a crackling (grating) sound, called crepitation
  • Joint swelling (bones around the joints may feel larger than normal)
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tenderness when the joint is pressed
  • Normal movement is painful.

RA is diagnosed clinically, but classified according to the 2010 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis of SLE can be very difficult. Arthritis Diagnosis. The gold standard is a rheumatologist’s diagnosis. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) uses a standard classification scheme requiring 4 of 11 criteria for research definition, although this is recognized to miss early and mild cases.