What is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis?

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are musculoskeletal disorders that share common characteristics. Each of these diseases causes irreparable damage to health. If you do not get medical help in a timely manner, irreversible consequences can arise, leading to disability and disability.

In this article we will look at the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis, the causes and mechanism of their development, as well as the symptoms and treatment.

Causes of arthritis and osteoarthritis

The main causes of arthritis are:

  • Autoimmune rheumatoid causes in which the body cells begin to attack their own tissue and mistake it for foreign tissue. The reasons for this process have not yet been clarified.
  • infectious (tuberculosis, tick-borne borreliosis);
  • secondary, in which arthritis develops against the background of other diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis);
  • Metabolic disorder (gout).
Causes of Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

The causes of osteoarthritis are as follows:

  • congenital developmental abnormalities (joint dysplasia);
  • injuries;
  • natural aging processes of the body;
  • metabolic disorders, hormonal changes (menopause in women);
  • excessive physical activity, including professional sports, repetitive work (for seamstresses);
  • secondary (osteoarthritis can develop due to arthritis).

Physiological processes

Both pathologies affect the joints, but they differ in the nature of the changes.

For arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the connective tissue - the synovia, which contains many vessels and provides for the lymphatic flow. The inflammatory process leads to malnutrition of the joint tissues, which limits the production of synovial fluid - synovial fluid.

For osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative-dystrophic process that is associated with the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joint. The cartilage gradually collapses, dries up, the distance between the articular bones decreases, which is the cause of pain. In severe forms, the destruction also affects the bones. They become more porous, lose their density and become brittle.

What's the difference

For example, what is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee joint? With arthritis, inflammation occurs in the synovial membrane of the joint tissue. This increases the temperature in the joint.

The joint swells, a persistent pain syndrome develops, which is aggravated by movement. With osteoarthritis, pain occurs only after physical exertion, a characteristic crunch or click can be heard in the joint, and the joint gradually becomes deformed and loses its mobility.

The difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis of the fingers and hands is that the former is curable and the latter is not. Arthritis affects the synovia and capsule of the joint.

Damage to cartilage and bone tissue occurs only in the later stages in a neglected state. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage tissue is affected first, and then the bone, the inflammation of the synovial membrane, has a secondary origin, that is, it develops against its background.

Symptoms: How arthritis differs from osteoarthritis

Arthritis is associated with symptoms that are characteristic of inflammation:

  • body temperature rises, chills appear, weakness occurs throughout the body;
  • the local temperature of the affected joint and its soft tissues increases;
  • the joint swells, the skin around it turns red;
  • the joint is deformed;
  • his mobility decreases;
  • in the morning there is a stiffness that disappears within an hour of physical activity;
  • The
  • pain syndrome occurs both during movement and at rest.
  • complications are observed in the form of lesions of internal organs (heart, lungs);
  • excessive sweating occurs;
  • weight loss.

Osteoarthritis develops gradually and is not noticeable in the early stages. It is often mistaken for physical fatigue. The chronic form of osteoarthritis is also known as osteoarthritis. When asked which is worse - osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis - the answer is obvious. The latter option is a consequence of the development of osteoarthritis and its acute form.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain occurs after physical exertion, with sudden movements, twists, bends, painful sensations disappear after rest;
  • there is a characteristic crunch in the joints;
  • is characterized by pain after prolonged rest that disappears within 15-20 minutes after mobility (this is due to a blockage in the joint);
  • concerned about the nocturnal dull pain caused by venous stasis;
  • The inflammatory form of the pathology is accompanied by edema and pain.
  • the joint is deformed, its mobility decreases.
Differential diagnosis of symptoms of arthritis and osteoarthritis

As you can see, the differences in symptoms are not significant: there is pain, stiffness and fatigue in both cases. Arthritis and osteoarthritis can affect different joints in the human body. If the spine and intervertebral discs are damaged, osteochondrosis develops - similar to osteoarthritis. Depending on the location of the disease, a distinction is made between osteoarthritis of the ankle, shoulder, hip joints, etc.

A detailed analysis of symptoms and differential diagnosis will help pinpoint the pathology - arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Difference in treatment

Treatment for arthritis is aimed at restoring the immune system and clearing inflammation. Osteoarthritis is primarily about preventing tissue destruction and alleviating symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is treated by an orthopedic surgeon, arthritis - a rheumatologist and a number of other doctors, depending on the origin of the disease.

The main therapy for arthritis includes the use of anti-inflammatory non-hormonal drugs, antibiotic therapy, and in severe cases, hormone therapy and immunosuppressants.

For osteoarthritis, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hormonal, venotonic and chondroprotective drugs are used.

In both cases, the diseased joint is given rest, the load is reduced, therapeutic exercises and physiotherapy are used for recovery.

Therapeutic gymnastics has a good effect on improving the condition of the ligaments and joints and developing their flexibility and mobility. It should be borne in mind that exercise can only be done during remission and without inflammation. An orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist can choose a number of exercises depending on the joint affected.

It is very important to follow the correct technique so as not to damage the joints already affected. All movements should be slow and gentle. Exercise shouldn't be uncomfortable or painful, or you should stop exercising or switch to a different type of exercise. First of all, it is best to do the exercises under the supervision of a doctor, and then incorporate them into daily practice at home.

how to reduce joint mobility during treatment for arthritis and osteoarthritis

In order to facilitate the mobility of the joints, special orthopedic means are used: compression knee pads, corsets, collars and other accessories, depending on the affected area.

Physiotherapy is useful in both cases; in arthritis it is only given during remission. It has a minimum of contraindications and side effects, does not cause allergic reactions and is suitable for most patients.

The methods of electrophoresis, ultrasound, phonophoresis, magnetotherapy, shock wave therapy and cryotherapy are used.

All have a positive effect on the healing process, promote deeper penetration of drugs into tissue, improve blood circulation, lymph flow, metabolic processes and trigger natural regeneration processes.

In severe cases, when the joints are completely destroyed, an endoprosthetic operation or a complete joint replacement is performed.

Traditional medicine for the treatment of osteoarthritis and arthritis

When using folk remedies to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis, you should consider the stage of the disease and the risk of allergic reactions. So ask your doctor before using them. In arthritis, the use of additional non-traditional treatments is allowed only during the period of remission, which is due to the autoimmunity of the disease.

As a remedy, decoctions and tinctures are used, which relieve inflammation, applications and baths, relieve swelling, rubbing and ointments. Prevention and treatment with folk remedies should play an auxiliary, not the main role. This should always be taken into account with such serious illnesses.

Use snow and salt for osteoarthritis. A glass of snow is mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt, the aching joint is rubbed with the mixture for 5 minutes.

To restore the cartilage tissue in arthritis and osteoarthritis, tinctures made from chamomile, pine needles and aloe are used. The mixture can be added to hand baths or applied.

Animal fats are mixed as ointments: grated lard, badger fat, inner lard. They are mixed with marigold or comfrey. They relieve pain, improve nutrition, and reduce inflammation.

Compress fresh leaves. A burdock or cabbage leaf is smeared with honey, applied to the painful joint, covered with polyethylene and a warm cloth and left overnight.

the result of treating arthritis and osteoarthritis with folk remedies

The clay is mixed with water until the sour cream is thick. The gauze soaked in the mixture is applied and left for an hour. The application must be repeated daily for two weeks.

Aloe juice, vodka and honey can be mixed in equal proportions. Soak the gauze with this mixture and apply it to a painful area for 1 hour.

Chamomile, hops, St. John's wort and Vaseline are mixed as an ointment. Used daily for a month.

Two tablespoons of crushed celandine are added to 150 ml of vegetable oil (olives, sesame seeds, hemp and others), brewed for a week and used as an ointment.

Freshly squeezed aloe juice is taken orally 2 teaspoons 4 times a day.

Two tablespoons of St. John's wort and wormwood pour 1 liter of boiling water, let it steep for 10-15 minutes and take 1 tablespoon each.

Pour dandelion flowers with vodka in a ratio of 1 part dandelion + 2 parts liquid, leave for 2 weeks and use for grinding.

What is the difference between osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis

These concepts are of a similar nature. Both osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis are associated with the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joints. In osteochondrosis, the joints of the bones of the spine, intervertebral discs, and in osteoarthritis, the joints of the limbs are affected.


To prevent joint disease from developing, you need to know the risk factors. These include:

  • Aging processes of the body, exhaustion and deterioration of tissue nutrition;
  • A sedentary lifestyle leads to stagnation, circulatory disorders, lymph flow and curvature of the spine.
  • Obesity is associated with metabolic disorders in the hormonal and endocrine system, excessive stress on the spine, joints and heart.
how to prevent the development of arthritis and osteoarthritis

For prophylaxis, the following recommendations should be included in your daily routine. Feasible sports and gentle fitness have good effects on the condition and maintenance of the health of joints, ligaments, and spine.

Two to three times a week are enough to avoid traffic jams and improve general well-being.

In order to nourish the cells of the body, you need to diversify your diet with foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B and PP. It is necessary to eat grains, vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean meats, and reduce the use of foods with harmful carcinogenic substances, fried, undercooked, smoked, salty and spicy foods.

You can consult a nutritionist to help develop proper eating and eating habits.

The psychosomatic nature of the diseases described suggests that it is necessary to avoid stress, resolve conflict situations in a constructive way, and not succumb to dejection and depression.


Arthritis and osteoarthritis are quite serious human diseases that lead to serious irreversible consequences. The latent nature of the development of osteoarthritis does not allow it to be recognized in the early stages. So it is very important to take care of your health, not wait for the pain to "go away" and seek timely medical help.