Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis – Explaining the Pain

Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

If opening jars or lifting objects have become difficult due to pain, or climbing stairs now is a difficult task due to joint stiffness, “arthritis” is the term that is most likely to cross your mind. Arthritis can appear in over 100 forms, but when people you know say they have arthritis, they likely mean they have either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These two forms are the most common and affect people in varying degrees.  

While osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) produce similar symptoms, their origins and diagnoses are very different. So what are the differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?

Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Infographic


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder.Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.
Onset – Develops gradually over the years as the joint cartilage wears awayOnset – Develops and worsens over several weeks or months.
Affected – Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, affecting more than 30 million adults in the United States.Affected – Rheumatoid Arthritis affects 1.3 million Americans of which 75% are women. 
Location – Common in the hip, knee, lower back, neck, feet, and finger joints.Location – Can appear in any joint. Common in hands, wrist, and feet. 
Joint stiffness – Mild in the morning, and occurs after a few hours of inactivity during the day.Joint stiffness – Prolonged hours of stiffness and takes longer hours to subside.
Symptoms – joint pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, reduced motion, creakingSymptoms – pain, stiffness, inflammation, bumps or nodules, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite
Treatment – Pain medicine, heat or ice, weight loss, exercise, surgeryTreatment – Rest, splints, balanced diet, exercise, healthy weight
Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis are chronic conditions that can become worse over time without appropriate treatment. In many cases, Osteoarthritis is easier to treat because it usually affects fewer joints than Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to know that treatments have come a long way. The first step on the road to getting better is getting a proper diagnosis. Experiencing any of the above symptoms? Visit us and make your online appointment now. 

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