Determining if you have osteoarthritis


The diagnosis of osteoarthritis relies on symptoms and examination findings. 


    • Early signs often include joint pain and stiffness, particularly after periods of inactivity.
    • Stiffness can make daily activities like crouching or descending stairs difficult. 
    • Symptoms usually start gradually and intermittently in one part of the joint. Initially, pain occurs with movement but may progress to constant discomfort, even at rest. 
    • Symptom severity can fluctuate, with periods of worsening followed by improvement. 
    • Disease progression varies among individuals, making it challenging to predict. 
    • Exercise and weight loss, especially if overweight, can slow or prevent symptom worsening.

X-ray changes

If you visit your primary care provider for osteoarthritis, they may order an x-ray. Depending on the disease stage, the x-ray may reveal decreased joint space, osteophytes (bone outgrowths), cyst formation, and bone sclerosis beneath the cartilage. However, changes can occur before appearing on x-ray, and symptoms severity may not always align with x-ray findings. Thus, clinical diagnosis is primarily based on symptoms rather than x-ray results.

Patients who have gone through the GLA:D™ Canada program are invited to share their feedback with this short form.

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