Diagnosing Knee Arthritis and Other Problems

From blood work to X-rays, tests your doctor uses to find the cause of your knee pain.


Diagnosing knee arthritis and other problems will begin with a physical exam and medical history. During the medical history your doctor will ask you questions, such as:

• What symptoms are you experiencing?
• Are your symptoms worse after activity or rest? Are there certain activities that make them worse – or better?
• How long have you been experiencing knee symptoms?
• Do you recall an having an illness or accident around the time your symptoms began?
• Are you experiencing symptoms in any joints besides the knee(s)?
• Do any of your family members have arthritis or other knee problems?
• Do you have other medical problems that could be causing your symptoms?

During the physical exam your doctor will look at and touch your knee, and any other joints you may be experiencing problems with. Your doctor will be looking for areas with tenderness, pain or swelling, as well as indications the joint may be damaged.  Your doctor may also ask you to stand up and move your knee joint. This will show how well you can move it. Depending on the findings of the history and exam, your doctor may order lab tests and imaging tests to help make or confirm a diagnosis.

The Arthritis Foundation is the leading organization 
providing support and funding research to improve the 
lives of individuals with arthritis. You can help!