Arthritis and arthrosis: how they differ

therapeutic exercises for arthritis and arthrosis

Diseases of arthritis and arthrosis are often confused due to the similarity of the names. Yes, and both ailments are affected by the joints (for example, there is arthritis and arthrosis of the knee joint). Affected joints become inflamed, swollen and sore. Otherwise, these are completely different diseases. Let's try to figure out how arthritis differs from arthrosis?

Difference between arthritis and arthrosis

Arthritis is accompanied by inflammation of the articular joints, which, in turn, leads to impaired motor functions. The patient experiences discomfort, he has acute or aching pain, both during physical activity and during rest, especially in the morning. The skin around the joint swells, turns red and becomes taut. Body temperature often rises. Arthrosis is a disease in which degenerative processes occur in the articular cartilage. The changed cartilage ceases to cope with the load falling on them and is gradually destroyed. Pain that occurs during exertion usually goes away at rest. The tissues around the joint become swollen and inflamed. The progressive disease leads to the destruction of cartilage and severe deformity of the joints. The difference between arthrosis and arthritis lies in the causes of diseases. Arthrosis happens:

  • primary, usually associated with old age;
  • secondary, arising from other diseases or genetically determined.

The predisposing factors for the development of arthrosis are:

  • excessive weight;
  • excessive physical activity (most often, in athletes) or very low physical activity;
  • past injuries;
  • endocrine diseases.

Arthritis is inflammatory. There are such causes of the disease as:

  • various infections;
  • joint damage and repeated minor injuries;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • allergy;
  • deficiency of trace elements and vitamins.

Analyzes for arthritis and arthrosis

For the early diagnosis of diseases affecting the support apparatus, the specialist needs to collect a full anamnesis. The patient is invited to pass the following tests and conduct the specified examinations:

  1. A clinical blood test to determine the level of ESR (with arthritis, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate increases markedly, with arthrosis it is close to normal).
  2. Biochemical blood test to identify the lack of macro- and microelements, characteristic of arthritis.
  3. X-ray to help detect bone deformity inherent in arthrosis and determine the width of the joint space.
  4. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which allows you to identify changes in cartilage tissue in the early stages of the disease.

Cause of disease

The main difference between arthritis and arthrosis is the origin of diseases. Arthritis is an infectious disease that causes joint inflammation. Arthrosis refers to the degenerative processes occurring in the body as a result of natural wear and tear of the joints and aging, which cause the destruction of the cartilage layer in the joint. Therefore, arthrosis is mainly characteristic of the elderly, and arthritis can be contracted at any age, even in childhood. Women are more likely to have arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects both women and men who have reached old age. Most often, arthritis is caused by:

  • various infections;
  • allergic reactions;
  • joint damage;
  • frequent minor injuries;
  • physical stress;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • deficiency of vitamins and minerals;
  • autoimmune disorders;
  • diseases of the nervous system.

In addition, arthritis often develops as a complication of arthrosis, but not vice versa. Osteoarthritis mainly results from:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • insufficient blood supply and bone nutrition;
  • excessive stress on the joints;
  • joint injuries;
  • hypothermia.

Symptoms of joint diseases

Despite the fact that both diseases are accompanied by painful sensations, these sensations arise under different conditions. With arthritis, pain appears both during physical exertion, and during sleep and in the morning. With arthrosis, pain worries a person only during physical exertion.

Another characteristic difference between arthritis and arthrosis is the nature of the pain. Arthritis is characterized by sharp, strong and twitching pains, and arthrosis is dull and aching, accompanied by a crunch.

Arthritis most often affects small joints, and arthrosis - large joints (especially knee and hip). Arthrosis affects only the joints. In arthritis, inflammation can spread to multiple joints as well as other organs. In addition, arthritis is accompanied by fever, swelling and redness in the affected area. Sometimes with arthritis, subcutaneous rheumatic nodules appear. Over time, arthrosis leads to deformations of the joints, which can become thinner and take on strange shapes.


For diagnosis, similar methods are used (x-rays, computed tomography, laboratory tests), but their results will differ. In arthritis, a complete blood count will show an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and a high concentration of C-reactive protein, leukocytes and seromucoid. With arthrosis, such an analysis will not detect any deviations.

Arthritis and arthrosis treatment

Various specialists are engaged in the treatment of diseases. Arthrosis is treated by an orthopedic traumatologist, and in case of arthritis, the cause of the disease is first established, and then, depending on it, a specialist is selected. Diseases are treated with identical methods, using medication and physiotherapy. If the disease has gone too far, then surgery is used - endoprosthetics or joint replacement. But there are also some differences in the treatment of diseases. Arthritis requires immediate and active therapy, and arthrosis requires long-term and thorough treatment. Arthritis treatment begins with diet and lifestyle changes. Then the patient is prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, as well as physiotherapy procedures. Osteoarthritis is treated with hormonal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. Arthritis is generally completely cured, and arthrosis, which belongs to chronic diseases, causes irreversible consequences in the joints that cannot be treated - it is only possible to slow down degenerative processes.

These two diseases with consonant names are similar in that they are symptoms of rheumatism. However, do not be confused: arthrosis is a mechanical disease, and with arthritis, the joints become inflamed. In simpler terms, if sore joints are swollen, the patient has arthritis. If the pain in the joints is weak, then it is arthrosis. In this article we will try to explain in an accessible language how they differ. For those unfamiliar with medicine, it is difficult to distinguish between the two. Since both diseases are directly related to rheumatism. Both ailments cause pain and discomfort to the joints, which become immobile. The symptoms of these diseases, as well as the ways to treat them, are very different.

What is the difference between arthritis and arthrosis?

the doctor examines the joints of the hands with arthrosis and arthritis

The difference between arthritis and arthrosis is that with arthritis, the joints become inflamed. As a result, enzymes are released, leading to their destruction. They form proteins that stick them together. This is one of the causes of pain. Most often it occurs when a person is asleep. With physical exertion, it subsides a little. Weakness is felt in the morning. This ailment affects the joints of the legs and arms.

Arthritis can have different causes. For example, septic arthritis is caused by infection, and rheumatoid arthritis is caused by decreased immunity. Gout develops due to metabolic disorders.

Joint changes occur along with physiological changes. As a result, the skin may become warm or reddened.

How is arthritis treated?

To cure it, it is necessary to alleviate the symptoms and restore the mobility of the joints. To do this, it is recommended to try different methods. They can be combined if necessary. This will help determine which one works best. Also, with these ailments, the results of a blood test differ. With arthrosis, protein levels increase. If the patient has arthritis, there are no changes in the composition of the blood. When choosing a remedy used in order to get rid of such problems, one must take into account the type of this disease. Most often used for healing:

  • corticosteroids;
  • biological and anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • analgesics;
  • anti-irritant drugs;
  • antirheumatic drugs;
  • therapeutic methods.

Physical activity is required to heal. With specialized exercises, you can strengthen your joints and keep your muscles toned. Sometimes staples or splints are used for this purpose. If other methods of therapy do not help, doctors suggest removing the damaged joints. They are being replaced by artificial ones. Most often, knees are treated this way. Such an operation is done to relieve discomfort and restore their activity. After this procedure, the destruction of the joints is slower. In addition, with surgical methods, it is customary to perform an operation to cut out the articular tissue. At the same time, foreign particles are removed from their shell. Patients undergo such operations to smooth out rough surfaces and change the pressure angle.

How is arthrosis treated?

gymnastics for arthritis and arthrosis

To cure this disease, you need to reduce your risk factors. Those who are overweight are advised to eat properly. Patients need to monitor their diet. This is especially true for those who have undergone surgery for pathology of bone structure.

If the patient's condition does not improve, you can get rid of the problems using anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics. In order not to have to use a prosthesis, the patient should be prescribed hyaluronic acid. It will also help relieve discomfort.

You should not completely reduce physical activity. Exercise should be easy on your health. This should prevent weight gain. If you have a suspicion of a particular disease, do not panic and do not try to treat it yourself. Timely diagnosis and properly prescribed treatment increases your chances of a quick recovery.

The main differences

As mentioned above, arthrosis is a mechanical ailment. With it, the articular cartilage periodically shrinks until it disappears. As a result, the rubbing bones are exposed. It mainly occurs in the elderly. In this case, patients note certain characteristic features associated with the appearance of the joints. As a rule, he has the following reasons associated with injuries, abnormalities in the structure of bones, excess weight. Most often, it affects the joints of the pelvis and knees. Often damages the joints of the neck and spine. Unlike arthritis, arthrosis can cause significant discomfort while moving. The inconvenience goes away in between walking, running, and so on. But apart from unpleasant sensations, it is not able to manifest itself in the form of inflammation, therefore it is often called a "cold" disease.