Bony Enlargements of the Joint
Enlargement of a joint is not the same as swelling
Bony enlargement without joint swelling feels hard to the touch and is not usually tender. This finding is typical of osteoarthritis, although it may also occur in people who have no joint pain and as a consequence of other joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Diagnosing arthritis poses a significant challenge to any physician because of the sheer number of conditions that can cause joint discomfort and because there are rarely tests available to establish a definitive diagnosis. Consequently, a doctor must rely heavily on your description of symptoms and other relevant information, plus a physical examination.
That’s why you should prepare for your appointment by making a list of your symptoms and the circumstances under which they occur. Do you notice them during or after a particular activity? Or first thing in the morning?
Primary care doctors can usually determine at the first visit whether the problem is a form of arthritis or some other musculoskeletal problem, such as Bursitis or Tendonitis. But it may take several visits to make a more specific diagnosis.
Know your own medical history
Your symptoms — what they are, when they first began, and how they’ve changed over time — provide potent clues your doctor will need to know to make an accurate diagnosis. Be prepared to discuss the following:
- The type of joint symptoms (such as pain or stiffness)
- The effect of activity (such as increased pain or relief of stiffness during or after a particular activity)
- The rate of onset
- Identification of any other symptoms (fever, fatigue, weight loss, skin problems, bowel problems)
- A summary of events that occurred near the time the symptoms first appeared (such as viral illness, bacterial infection, injury, vaccination, new medication, or change in activity)
- The time of day that joint symptoms are worst
- The presence or absence of joint swelling, redness, or warmth
- Any previous episodes of similar symptoms
- Your family’s history of arthritis or rheumatic disease.
This information, plus an accurate description of where the pain is and how it feels will help your doctor arrive at a successful diagnosis