Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis

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Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis
Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis

Video: Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis

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Video: Osteoarthritis - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology 2023, January

Osteoarthritis: symptoms & diagnosis

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain. In principle, it can occur in any joint. The joints that are most affected are those that we use the most: wrist, finger, toe, knee and hip joints. The earlier the joint-destroying disease process is stopped or slowed down, the greater the success of the treatment…


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  • Symptoms
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  • How are the costs going to be covered?


The early signs of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint stiffness: This is particularly pronounced during the first movements after a resting position, especially in the morning.
  • "Start-up pain ": After long periods of sitting, knees and hips often hurt when you take the first steps and are stiff. However, when moving, the pain quickly subsides.
  • Loss of strength: The legs often "buckle" suddenly - the hip, knee or ankle suddenly give way. If the hands are affected, this is particularly noticeable when doing housework. For example, objects can fall out of the hand when gripping or cans or other closures can only be opened with great effort and pain.
  • Joint noises during exercise: crackling or rubbing noises can be the first signs of the onset of osteoarthritis.
  • Restrictions on movement: e.g. difficulties in putting on and taking off items of clothing (especially coats, sweaters) or when crouching down, often, but not necessarily, associated with pain.

Signs of advanced osteoarthritis are:

  • Nocturnal and weather-dependent pain: all joints are affected equally.
  • Fatigue and stress pain : The advanced destruction of the joint cartilage leads to pain and impairs the mobility of affected joints.
  • Joint swelling and tenderness: The constant rubbing of the joint surfaces leads to an inflammatory reaction in the joint with the formation of joint effusion. The joint is swollen, often overheated, sensitive to pressure and touch.
  • Joint deformities: mostly with constant pain. Changes that are often visible and palpable from the outside appear in the late stages of the disease. Pronounced movement restrictions and pain can massively hinder everyday activities.


The typical symptoms indicate the presence of osteoarthritis. The diagnosis is confirmed by means of X-ray examinations, ultrasound or, increasingly, magnetic resonance imaging. In addition to recognizing early signs of wear and tear, this method also allows the cartilage damage to be graded into four degrees of severity, depending on the depth of the damage:

  • Grade I: discoloration and softening of the cartilage
  • Grade II: roughening of the surface with small cracks
  • Grade III: crater-shaped defect that extends almost to the bone
  • Grade IV: complete loss of cartilage with exposed bone

Note The extent of the changes visible in the imaging procedures does not necessarily correspond to the extent of the symptoms.

Whom can I ask?

If you suspect that you have osteoarthritis, you can contact the following offices for clarification:

  • General practitioner
  • Specialist in internal medicine (specializing in rheumatology)

How are the costs going to be covered?

All necessary and appropriate diagnostic measures are taken over by the health insurance carriers. Your doctor or the outpatient clinic will generally settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. With certain health insurance providers, however, you may have to pay a deductible (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB).

However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles.

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