Arthritis and osteoarthritis

knee pain with arthritis and osteoarthritis

When it comes to diseases such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, joint problems inevitably come to mind. Indeed, both of these pathologies are directly related to the musculoskeletal system, since the pathological process is localized in the articular joints. Both arthritis and osteoarthritis have similar symptoms. Many patients confuse these diseases, consider them to be the same pathology, however, they have fundamental differences.

What are arthritis and osteoarthritis and how do they differ

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are common diagnoses in older patients. To understand the differences between these two conditions, consider what arthritis and osteoarthritis are and what the difference is between them.

A chronic joint disease in which gradual deformation occurs is called osteoarthritis. The more correct name is osteoarthritis, since the pathological process involves not only the cartilage, but ultimately also the bone tissue.

The immediate cause of the disease is damage to the surfaces of the joint, as a result of which they wear out and cease to perform their functions. A typical manifestation of arthrosis is severe pain when moving in the limb, due to the aggravation of the pathological process, the mobility of the joint is significantly limited. In an advanced stage, the joint can become immobile.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs in people over the age of forty-five, but in rare cases it can affect joints and young people. The disease develops mainly in women, and people who have congenital pathologies of the limbs also suffer from it. Overweight, joint surgery, injuries, for example, to the hip or knee joint, lead to osteoarthritis. Endogenous factors, such as poor nutrition or circulatory disorders in the joint, can also cause the disease.

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease localized to the joint. This is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis. Inflammation can appear as a result of joint infection, injury, and also due to dystrophic changes in the tissues. As with osteoarthritis, arthritis is characterized by joint pain that increases with movement.

Lack of adequate treatment leads to loss of mobility in the joint and its complete immobilization. Arthritis is easier to distinguish, as inflammation causes redness of the skin at the injury site, swelling. Note that arthritis is not an isolated pathology. It is a systemic disease that affects not only the musculoskeletal system. Arthritis usually affects the liver, kidneys, and heart. This is the main difference between arthritis and local osteoarthritis.


The symptoms of arthritis and osteoarthritis are very similar to each other, but they also have significant differences. Pain is an essential symptom that comes to the fore in both osteoarthritis and arthritis. The nature of the pain is different: with osteoarthritis, patients experience negative sensations at the time of physical activity, as well as with an increase in the load on the damaged joint.

Initially, the pain may be mild. For this reason, patients do not always attach importance to such symptoms and do not pay attention to the first signs of pathology. At rest, the pain subsides. Only in the second and third stages, the pain is constantly present. However, if the limb is placed successfully, the pain will lessen. With arthritis, the pain does not subside, and the highest peak of its development occurs at night, closer to the morning.

deformation of the joints of the fingers with arthritis and arthrosis

Joint deformities are a key symptom of joint pathology.

Crunching is a typical feature of osteoarthritis and chronic arthritis

A crunch occurs due to a decrease in the elasticity of the cartilage tissue and an increase in friction between the joint surfaces. In the initial stage, you may notice the creaking of the fingers and then the larger joints are affected. A distinctive feature of joint crunch is the rough, dry sound produced by the joint.

Limitation of mobility in the joint and stiffness in movements are typical symptoms of osteoarthritis and arthritis, but for osteoarthritis joint problems differ locally, that is, a specific joint is affected and in arthritis - systemic pathology - the discomfort is noted not only in the joints, but throughout the body.

Joint deformities are noted in both pathologies, but they have distinctive features. With osteoarthritis, changes affect only the joint itself, and the inflammatory process in arthritis causes changes in the skin - you can see swelling, redness and hyperthermia. In addition, arthritis is accompanied by a general somatic pathology: body temperature rises, a typical feverish state is established, sweating increases, weakness and drowsiness appear. Conjunctivitis can begin, chronic diseases are complicated. With osteoarthritis, there are no such symptoms, but if arthritic arthritis has developed, inflammation will also join osteoarthritis.

The doctor should carefully differentiate the signs of arthritis and osteoarthritis, therefore, if negative symptoms appear, specialist advice is required.


A correct diagnosis of arthritis or osteoarthritis is important in starting the treatment of the disease. It can be done using various research methods. Not all patients know which doctor deals with joint pathologies, therefore, at the initial stage, you can contact a rheumatologist or therapist, so you will need orthopedic consultation.

Patients should be prescribed a blood test which will demonstrate general changes in the body. If the blood test results show no abnormalities, doctors are prone to osteoarthritis as a preliminary diagnosis.

MRI for the diagnosis of arthritis and osteoarthritis

If the x-ray is not very informative, doctors offer to undergo an MRI, in which the area of interest to the doctor can be examined in different projections.

With an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate in the blood plasma, rheumatoid arthritis is suspected, since there is a clear indication of an inflammatory process. Typically, the indicator increases above 25 mm / h. Joint pains that worsen overnight will be an additional confirmatory sign. In fairness, we note that an increase in ESR is also possible with osteoarthritis, if inflammation has joined with it.

An additional argument in favor of rheumatoid arthritis will be the increase in the number of leukocytes. They also take blood from a vein for rheumatology tests - the appearance of a special brand - C-reactive protein, which speaks of inflammation. However, you should not rely only on a blood test, as it is impossible to reliably determine any of the diseases from this analysis. It is necessary to conduct further research, constantly taking into account the presence of an inflammatory factor in the blood.

As additional studies, doctors prescribe the patient:

  • X-ray of the problem area;
  • magnetic resonance;
  • computed tomography;
  • radioisotope scan.

Doctors take into account the tests, a carefully collected medical history and the results of a blood test, after which a particular disease is diagnosed.


In order for the treatment of arthritis and osteoarthritis to be successful, it is necessary to choose the right treatment strategy. Note that it is not always possible to completely cure the disease, and in some cases, long-term remission is considered a huge success.

In order to relieve exacerbation and prevent the recurrence of diseases, it is imperative to carry out treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medicines have a particularly powerful effect on the body with arthritis, and also affect the positive dynamics in arthrosis.

Features of the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are as follows:

  • it is not recommended to drink drugs for a long time, even if they do not cause negative effects during the process of taking;
  • patients with pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, impaired liver, kidney and heart function are prohibited from taking NSAIDs;
  • you should not increase the dosage of drugs without the permission of the doctor, as with individual sensitivity, a negative reaction can be observed;
  • when taking drugs, it is necessary to drink a large glass of water;
  • when taking NSAIDs, it is forbidden to combine different drugs and consume alcoholic beverages;
  • the use of NSAIDs during pregnancy is prohibited.

When contacting a doctor, the patient after the examination will be prescribed effective treatment with the safest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Basically, all drugs in this group can be roughly divided into cyclooxygenase inhibitors 1 and 2. COX-2 inhibitors are considered more faithful to the body's drugs.

Medicines to relieve muscle spasm - muscle relaxants - will be helpful in the treatment. This usually often happens in patients with osteoarthritis or arthritis. With severe pain in the joints, the muscles experience severe tension, and with prolonged discomfort, they suffer from a lack of nutrition and oxygen, so it is very important to relieve the discomfort that accompanies the disease over time.

During therapy, an indispensable condition is the normalization of metabolic processes. This becomes possible after the inflammation has subsided and the muscle spasm has been relieved. Metabolic drugs for patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis are B vitamins, anabolic steroids.

For the removal of salts with arthrosis, a special range of drugs is prescribed, as well as means for achieving an optimal acid-base balance.

To treat arthritis and osteoarthritis, or to achieve lasting positive dynamics, it is very important to take all the medications recommended by the doctor. In addition, this must be done according to the scheme prescribed by the doctor, because even the most effective metabolic means against the background of an active inflammatory process will simply be useless.

Traditional treatment

A disease such as arthritis and osteoarthritis can be treated not only with traditional drugs, but also with folk remedies. Massages with preparations based on natural ingredients will be useful. These are bee venom and snake venom ointments. Essential oils are also included in the preparations. During the massage, you can add eucalyptus and ginger oil, ginger, marjoram oil, rosemary or juniper.

For arthritis and osteoarthritis, hot baths give a good relaxing effect. They will help relieve muscle pain and fatigue and help relax the body as a whole. The best composition is a drop of ginger oil and the same amount of benzoic styrax, or two drops of marjoram oil and black pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 15-20 drops to the bath. The recipe helps well if the patient has osteoarthritis of the legs. Oil baths can be done every evening.

Black poplar also has a very good effect. Not all patients know how to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis with black poplar, but it is very simple to do. From a healthy tree, it is necessary to collect dust, young leaves and shoots - about half a bucket, after which it is poured all with boiling water over the edge of the container and kept overnight. In the morning, the liquid is carefully poured into the bath, leaving the cake and immersed in it for half an hour. After the bath, it is advisable to warm up and lie down in bed for an hour.

Folk remedies also help perfectly if the patient is suffering from arthritic arthritis - a severe combination of bone deformities along with an inflammatory process in the joint joint. For treatment, it is necessary to take a glass of fir needles and fill them with two liters of water. It is necessary to cook the product for fifteen minutes, after which the broth is poured into the tub and taken until the water cools completely.

Senna leaves will help with arthritis and osteoarthritis. If the patient regularly treats the disease with this remedy, the inflammation quickly passes. Senna is used as follows: two glasses of the dry component are poured with a liter of boiling water and sealed for forty minutes. Then the liquid is poured into a bath, sea salt is added to it and brought until the water reaches the optimum temperature. After the bath, damage sites with osteoarthritis or arthritis are treated with fir oil and wrapped in a handkerchief.


As a preventive measure, doctors give patients the following advice:

  • completely treat all infectious pathologies, do not interrupt the course of therapy with antibacterial drugs, so as not to leave foci of inflammation in the body;
  • adhere to a balanced diet;
  • wearing comfortable shoes that do not restrict the feet;
  • get rid of excess weight, which creates additional stress on the limbs;
  • do not overcool the feet, be careful in case of humid climate and cold season;
  • protect yourself from injuries and during active sports use special bandages, supports, elastic bandages;
  • do daily gymnastics, take walks in the fresh air to activate blood circulation in the body, and when the first symptoms of arthritis or arthrosis are detected, perform special joint gymnastics - exercises for the hands, ankles, knees.

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are severe injuries of the joint surfaces. If improper or untimely treatment can lead to disability, therefore, doctors strongly recommend that you consult a doctor at the first symptoms of diseases.