Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of joints. Arthritis is a blanket term which includes all types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, and gout.


Osteoarthritis is a very common joint condition. Women are more prone to symptomatic osteoarthritis than men. Females get it three times more commonly than males. It usually sets in around 50 years of age. Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear. When it sets in spontaneously, without any previous joint disorders, it is called primary osteoarthritis. When it occurs as a result of another joint disease it   is called secondary osteoarthritis. Joint injuries and diseases like hemochromatosis give rise to secondary osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis usually starts with a single joint. There is pain on movement. The pain becomes worse in the evenings. There is a dull aching pain while the joint is at rest and a sharp pain on movement. The range of motion is limited, and there is joint tenderness. Bony swellings called “Heberden’s nodes” occur. Joints become stiff in the morning and become more mobile with movement. Joints are unstable and prone to dislocations and ligament injuries. Osteoarthritis progresses to involve multiple joints overtime. Most commonly affected joints in multiarticular osteoarthritis are distal inter-phalangeal joints, thumb metacarpo-phalangeal joints, cervical spine, lumbar spine, and knees.

 The x-rays of joints show loss of joint space, sclerosis under the joint cartilage, and marginal osteophytes. In some patients, CRP can be slightly elevated. Regular pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, low dose tricyclics, weight reduction, walking aids, supportive foot ware, physiotherapy, and joint replacement are a few treatment methods. 

What is the difference between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

• Arthritis is inflammation of joints, and osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis.

• Osteoarthritis is a very common joint condition that occurs due to wear and tear.


Also read:

1. Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatiod Arthritis

2. Difference Between Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

3. Difference Between Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis

4. Difference Between Gout and Arthritis 

5. Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis

  • Mary

    Diet and exercise would do almost nothing to prevent someone from getting RA, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis or almost any other form of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. Diet and exercise may help alleviate some symptoms in some cases, but at this time, there is no real evidence that diet or exercise would stave off these conditions. Unfortunately we’re genetically predisposed for our own bodies to attack us.

    • Dr K Guruparan

      Exercise will help to reduced the severity of disases, in general. Even rheumatiod arthritis, the joint movements will help to reduce the pain. Thats why the early morning the stiffness is high and with the movement, it reduces!!

      • Mary

        That may be what the author means, but it certainly isn’t what their statements say as written. Reduce the severity of the disease or provide some relief from symptoms? Yup, I’ll accept that. But to “avoid the risk of arthritis”? No. Exercise and diet would have done nothing to decrease the risk of me contracting Psoriatic Arthritis. When I’m more active and eating well, yes, I’m generally experiencing less pain overall. However, the condition is still underlying.

  • Mary

    It’s also grossly inaccurate that “there is no treatment for both.” Any form of arthritis has some treatments, with variations in their efficacy for different patients. For instance, Psoriatic Arthritis and other spondylarthropothies are generally treated with some combination of NSAIDs, DMARDs and biologics. Sometimes muscle relaxants, steroids, and narcotic painkillers are also used. I hope you meant “there is no cure” as that is currently true.

    Furthermore, osteoarthritis IS associated with aging. Yes, young people can have osteoarthritis, but it is still generally associated with the aging process.

    • Dr Guruparan

      Yes. Arthritis has definite treatment. But I think author refer the treatment as CURATIVE treatment. Actually there is 100 % curative treatment. As u said DMART and NSAIDS are used.

      • Dr Guruparan

        Actually there are no definte curative treatment! Sorry for typing error.

      • Mary

        I understand your interpretation of the article, but it doesn’t change the fallacy of the original statement. They need to edit their article to be accurate before publication, instead of just relying on all readers to throw in their own extra words to make them accurate. I don’t know how many people would accept this random internet article as the truth, but ultimately, I think it’s especially important to carefully edit medical information and advice.