Osteoarthritis: care and management

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

  • This Guidelines summary includes recommendations that are relevant to the primary care setting. Please refer to the full guideline for the complete set of recommendations


  • Diagnose osteoarthritis clinically without investigations if a person:
    • is 45 or over and
    • has activity-related joint pain and
    • has either no morning joint-related stiffness or morning stiffness that lasts no longer than 30 minutes
  • Be aware that atypical features, such as a history of trauma, prolonged morning joint-related stiffness, rapid worsening of symptoms or the presence of a hot swollen joint, may indicate alternative or additional diagnoses. Important differential diagnoses include gout, other inflammatory arthritides (for example, rheumatoid arthritis), septic arthritis and malignancy (bone pain)

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