Diagnosis is made with reasonable certainty based on history and clinical examination. X-rays may confirm the diagnosis.
Patients report good months and bad months or symptom changes with weather changes. Comparing the symptoms of arthrosis of hip on one particular day may not accurately represent the overall progression of the condition.
The typical changes seen on X-ray include: joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis (increased bony formation around the joint), subchondral cyst formation, and osteophytes. Plain films may not correlate with the findings on physical examination or with the degree of pain. Usually other imaging techniques are not necessary to clinically diagnose arthrosis.
In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology, using data from a multi-center study, developed a set of criteria for the diagnosis of hand arthrosis based on hard tissue enlargement and swelling of certain joints. These criteria were found to be 92% sensitive and 98% specific for hand arthrosis versus other entities such as rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies.
Related pathologies whose names may be confused with arthrosis include pseudo-arthrosis. This is derived from the Greek words pseudo, meaning “false”, and arthrosis, meaning “joint.” Radiographic diagnosis results in diagnosis of a fracture within a joint, which is not to be confused with arthrosis which is a degenerative pathology affecting a high incidence of distal phalangeal joints of female patients.