Diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist involves three components:
1. A medical history –
Your physician will discuss your medical history with you in detail. This is an essential step to help determine what type of symptoms you are experiencing, how these symptoms affect your day-to-day functioning, when and how these symptoms first began, and what aggravates them.
You will also be asked what medications you are taking, what other medical conditions you have, and what type of lifestyle habits you practice (such as exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and more).
2. A physical examination –
After discussing your medical history, your physician will examine the affected areas, assessing for pain or tenderness with palpation and movements. They will also check for limitations in your range of motion in the affected joints.
3. Diagnostic imaging/testing –
You may be instructed to get bloodwork done in order to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as the source of your pain. X-rays are used to visualize the joints of the wrist and hand, assessing for loss of cartilage or the formation of bone spurs.