Difference between Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Difference between Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are both conditions of the joints having different causes and treatment but similar symptoms.

Arthritis is a broad term surmising joint diseases. There are many types of the disease. It affects people of all ages and gender, however, the mentioned two are more common in women.

Osteoarthritis or OA is a degenerative disease where the cartilage that cushions the bones in joints starts wearing down. It exposes nerves and causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disorder where the human immune system becomes faulty and starts attacking the tissue in the joints. It affects the lubricating fluid and hampers mobility.


Symptoms of OA & RA

Even though both are symptomatically arthritis, osteoarthritis is a degeneration of bone and cartilage showing symptoms in joints.

RA is a systemic disorder that influences the immune system, thus affecting the entire body. Common symptoms to both

  1. Joint pain, stiffness
  2. Restricted range of movement
  3. Inflammation or tenderness in the affected hands or knees
  4. Heightened stiffness immediately after waking up in the morning


RA usually affects the smaller joints, accompanied by swelling, inflammation, and the appearance of nodules near them. The morning stiffness lingers on for several hours, which is a typical sign.

OA appears mostly in the knees, hips, and spine, in addition to hands. The morning stiffness eases in an hour or two.

Although the above indications appear in both OA and RA, the nature, onset, and location of the symptoms are different.

Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Difference in the Onset of the Disease

Osteoarthritis is also referred to as degenerative arthritis. Owing to factors such as age, bone health, and lifestyle, the soft cartilage in your joints undergoes wear and tear.

The condition does not happen suddenly but develops gradually(unless there is an accident or injury). The cartilage cushions the bones against each other and makes movement smooth & pain-free.

The damage to cartilage makes the bones rub one another and cause pain and stiffness in joints. The condition worsens gradually over the years, if not treated.

On the other hand, Rheumatoid arthritis an inflammatory condition wherein the body’s own immune system starts attacking the joint tissues.

It may happen suddenly and at any age. The symptoms are usually general, not limited to only joints, and become intense over a few weeks or months.

The first signs are like that of the common flu, such as fever, fatigue, weakness, and mild pain.

RA can appear in any joint, however, it usually targets hands, wrists, and feet.


The difference in Risk Factors & Treatment


Risk factors of OA comprise obesity,  genetics, age, and injuries such as ligament tear.

The treatment has advanced much, contrary to general beliefs that osteoarthritis is crippling and an impending aspect of aging.

One can grow old with good bone health & function now. Treatments are aimed at protecting the joints, lessen the discomfort, and improve range of motion and mobility.

Dr. Tanveer Bhutani of Eva Orthopedic Care says, “OA can be curtailed with regular physical activity, maintaining weight, diet supplements, assistive devices, NSAIDs and avoiding repetitive strainful actions.

Severe cases of particularly damaged joints have an answer in total replacement. Artificial joint implantation improves the quality of life for such patients”.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Risk factors of RA include hereditary and environmental factors. According to research, lifestyle habits such as smoking can also trigger immune system disorders that may be passed on genetically to children.

Treatment for inflammatory arthritis mandates early diagnosis and contentious therapy. Ignoring the disease, delaying consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, or carelessness can result in permanent damage to your health.

Treatment involves the use of specific medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs. The object of drugs is to decrease pain, improve function, and curbing further damage to all joints in the body.


Help Yourself

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis should both be dealt with via the right approach from the doctor as well as the patient.

Getting an early and accurate diagnosis of your joint problems is the primary thing you can do. Talk to your ortho care specialist at Eva Hospital and explain your symptoms.

Discuss the diagnosis and lifestyle changes that you can incorporate to prevent further damage to your joint health.

Arthritis is not something that you have to live with. With proper treatment and care, you can lead a healthy and active life, gracefully.