Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs. Osteoarthritis: What’s the Difference?

Posted in Uncategorized on: June 12th, 2019 by sdadmin No Comments

Over 54 million of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with some of orthopedic arthritis. Of these, the activities of up to 24 million people have been curtailed in a way by the condition.

Arthritis refers to joint inflammation. There are over 200 types of arthritis affecting the joints, surrounding, and connective tissues.

It is common among adults aged over 65 years, but it has also been reported in young people, even children.

The symptoms appear and develop differently depending on the type of arthritis. Some of the early signs of arthritis are; constant pain on joints and other body parts, swollen joints that feel warm when touched, morning stiffness, and difficulty in moving joints.

Wondering what the different kinds of arthritis are? Here we explain the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

1. Causes of Orthopaedic Arthritis

The causes of these two conditions are different, but family history is a risk factor for both.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition; it slowly develops over time as a result of forces of wear and tears that damage the cartilage between the joints.

Rheumatoid is an autoimmune condition; your immune system attacks any joint of the body. It can as well attack other parts of the body leading to severe pain.

2. They Affect Different Ages

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid affect people of different ages. Their causes determine the people they affect.

As a generative condition, osteoarthritis is common among old people — the forces of wear and tear damage the joints and surrounding tissues over time. But, repetitive motions can overuse the joints of young people leading to the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t have an age limit; it can affect any person. But, this disease is more common and aggressive among women.

3. Different Effects

These two diseases affect the body in different ways.

Overuse of joints leads to osteoarthritis, so the symptoms begin slowly on one side of the body. These symptoms can be limited to only one set of the joints but may spread to other sides.

It usually affects joints close to the fingernails, the thumb, joints that wear heavyweights like the knees and hips. It can even affect the spine.

Rheumatoid arthritis is as a result of your immune system attacking your body. It can attack small or large joints or any side of the body. It can affect either hands, elbows, wrists, or both feet balls.

This condition can also affect other organs of the body.

4. Speed of Onset

The timing and progression of these diseases are also different.

Osteoarthritis develops and progresses slowly. The condition develops over time as people overuse and wear down their joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect your body quickly. If your immune system attacks your body, it can advance into a disabling condition with a few weeks or months.

5. Symptoms

These diseases have different characteristics.

The joints of people with osteoarthritis ache, they are tender and have little or no swelling. These symptoms are not felt in the whole body.

The joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis are painful, stiff, and swollen. They also suffer from frequent fatigue, and they also complain of a general feeling of illness.

6. Stiffness in the Morning

Morning stiffness is a common stiffness in these two diseases, but its duration varies.

In osteoarthritis, morning stiffness doesn’t last more than an hour. But, it returns in the evening after the daily activities.

Morning stiffness lasts longer than an hour in people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

Morning stiffness affects various activities. People suffering from arthritis take long to get out of bed or start their day.

Medical specialists advise that arthritis patients should always plan. Set your alarms an hour before your usual waking times to manage the pain and also plan some of the activities.

7. Treatment

Different methods are used to treat these two conditions. But, the treatment aims at reducing pin, minimizing joint damage, restoring joint functions, and improving the quality of life.

Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory painkillers, and steroid injections are the common methods of treatment for osteoarthritis.

Pain relieving medication is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

If the symptoms persist, please visit an orthopedic surgeon as surgery is considered a last resort to treat both of these conditions. Â

Food and lifestyle change are also effective in treating all forms of arthritis. Some of the foods that can reduce inflammation are; beans, fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables.

Foods containing solanine chemical have been linked to arthritis pain. Some of the foods to avoid are tomatoes and nightshade vegetables.

Some of the self-management strategies include; physical fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, regular check-ups, and protecting the joints from stress.

Final Thoughts

With the above information about rheumatoid arthritis and orthopedic arthritis in mind, you’ll have no trouble understanding the difference between the two and how they can affect those who have them.


Please visit our blog for more insightful information about the musculoskeletal system of the human body.

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