Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is arthritis resulting from an earlier trauma, and/or natural wear and tear of joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation of the connective tissue lining the joint (the synovial membrane), which eventually leads to the destruction of the joint cartilage. 

Osteoarthritis (OA or degenerative arthritis) only affects the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect tendons as well as other body organs.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis:

    Osteoarthritis
  • Pain in the affected joint during activity or after a period of rest (briefly early morning).
    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    When inflammation is present the disease is considered active, though when there is no inflammation present it is considered to be inactive or in remission.

  • Pain associated with swelling and inflammation in the affected joint, with morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour.
  • Muscle soreness.
  • Fatigue. Lack of energy.
  • Low-grade fever.
  • Redness around the affected joint.

Causes of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis:

    Osteoarthritis
  • A previous trauma/injury creating an unstable joint environment.
  • Repetitive stress to the joint, such as in some sports and other occupations.
  • Natural wear and tear on the joint.
  • A secondary condition resulting from Rheumatoid arthritis.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Exact causes of Rheumatoid arthritis are unknown, though there are a number of studies designed to help determine the triggers.

  • Pain associated with swelling and inflammation in the affected joint, with morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour.
  • Genetic, inherited.
  • Infections.
  • Environmental factors.

Diagnosis:

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed by performing a clinical examination and X-rays, while rheumatoid arthritis may require a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options:

Both types of arthritis may respond to conservative treatment that includes anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, as well as cortisone injection therapy, and splinting. More aggressive drugs such as Methotrexate may be recommended for RA patients. When these conservative measures no longer provide relieve, surgical intervention to repair the joint may be recommended.

 

© Copyright 2015 Dr. Allan Rosen MD