Osteoarthritis (what’s the difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid
Osteoarthritis is more common and differs from rheumatoid arthritis in several
ways, although joint pain and inflammation of the joints may appear as similar symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is caused when the joint cartilage breaks down causing the bones
within the joint to touch when moved as there is no longer any cushioning between them.
Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is regarded as an autoimmune disease, where the immune
cells attack the body’s own tissues, and affects many joints, osteoarthritis symptoms and pain
usually start in a single joint.
Osteoarthritis is generally the result of ageing as the proteins in the
cartilage degenerate and water content increases, although repetitive use or stress on the
joint, joint injury, being overweight and family history can also be
How to spot common symptom
associated with osteoarthritis
Pain in the affected
joint after repetitive use or activity.
Morning stiffness that lasts a half hour or less.
Joint pain, often worse later in the day.
Affected joints can also swell, feel warm, and become stiff after prolonged inactivity.
Bone spurs or enlargements such as Heberden and Bouchard nodes.
Limited range of motion.
How to treat
Blood tests cannot
diagnose osteoarthritis for certain, but can be used to rule out rheumatoid
arthritis. Arthrocentesis (joint fluid removal) and tests on the joint fluid are
further procedures that can assess osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The results will
determine which type of arthritis is involved together with a physical examination and the
patient’s medical history.
The treatment of osteoarthritis pain aims to relieve the joint pain together with a programme of
physical therapies to improve the movement and function of the affected
inflammatory drugs, analgesics and steroid injections may be prescribed to treat the inflammation
Exercises to strengthen
the surrounding muscle and stabilize the joint.
Heat, rest and a weight
loss programme will also help to reduce pain.