ChiroACCESS Clinical Review

Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis

This information is provided to you for use in conjunction with your clinical judgment and the specific needs of the patient.

Lead Author(s): 

Dwain M. Daniel, D.C.


How this evidence was rated:

Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT)

Published on

February 28, 2007

Text Size:     
Diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) is primarily based on history, examination and radiographic examination. Interestingly, no clear consensus has been developed that specifically defines the diagnostic criteria for OA (1). One question that has yet to be answered is whether radiographic changes without pain or disability are properly diagnosed as OA (2). The criteria established by the American Board of Rheumatology for diagnosis follows (keep in mind different criteria are used for different joints and the guideline presented here is for a general diagnosis):

A. Clinical (3 of 6 factors)

1. Age over 50 years
2. Stiffness developing in less than 30 minutes of immobility
3. Crepitus
4. Bony tenderness
5. Bony enlargement
6. No palpable warmth

B. Radiographic

1. Osteophyte formation
2. Decreased joint space

C. Laboratory

1. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
2. Rheumatoid factor
3. Synovial fluid signs (clear, viscous or WBC count of <2,000/mm3)

AttentionIn order to view the full content of this review, which includes information broken down by topic, you must be a registered user of ChiroACCESS. The primary mission of ChiroACCESS is to disseminate accurate user-friendly information to practicing chiropractors, faculty and students of chiropractic in order to ensure the best possible patient care.

Please click on the following link in order to register at ChiroACCESS and view the full detail of this clinical review.

If you already have an account, you may log in at this time.



Reijman M, Hazes JM, Koes BW, Verhagen AP, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Validity, reliability, and applicability of seven definitions of hip osteoarthritis used in epidemiological studies: a systematic appraisal. Ann Rheum Dis 2004; 63(3):226-232.


Hinton R, Moody RL, Davis AW, Thomas SF. Osteoarthritis: diagnosis and therapeutic considerations. Am Fam Physician 2002; 65(5):841-848.