What is the difference between arthritis and arthrosis

Arthritis and arthrosis are diseases of the musculoskeletal system that have common features. Each of these diseases causes irreparable damage to health, and if you do not seek medical help in time, irreversible consequences may occur, entailing disability and disability.

In this article, we will consider the difference between arthritis and arthrosis, the causes and mechanism of their development, as well as the symptoms and treatment.

Causes of arthritis and arthrosis

The main causes of arthritis are:

  • rheumatoid autoimmune causes, in which the cells of the body begin to attack their own tissues, mistaking them for foreign ones. The reasons for this process have not yet been clarified;
  • infectious (tuberculosis, tick-borne borreliosis);
  • secondary, in which arthritis develops against the background of other diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis);
  • metabolic disorder (gout).
causes of arthritis and arthrosis

The causes of arthrosis are as follows:

  • congenital developmental anomalies (joint dysplasia);
  • injuries;
  • natural aging processes of the body;
  • metabolic disorders, hormonal changes (menopause in women);
  • excessive physical activity, including professional sports, monotonous work (for seamstresses);
  • secondary (arthrosis can develop due to arthritis).

Physiological processes

Both pathologies affect the joints, but differ in the nature of the changes.

For arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the connective tissue - the synovium, which contains many vessels and provides lymph flow. The inflammatory process leads to a malnutrition of the joint tissues, as a result of which the production of joint lubricant - synovial fluid - is limited.

With arthrosis

Arthrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic process associated with the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joint. The cartilage gradually collapses, dries out, the distance between the bones of the joint decreases, which is the cause of pain. In severe forms, the destruction also affects the bones. They become more porous, lose their density, and become brittle.

What's the Difference

For example, what is the difference between arthritis and arthrosis of the knee joint? With arthritis, inflammation of the synovial membrane of the articular tissues occurs. This causes the temperature in the joint to rise.

The joint swells, persistent pain syndrome develops, aggravated by movement. With arthrosis, pain occurs only after physical exertion, you can hear a characteristic crunch or clicks in the joint, gradually the joint is deformed and loses its mobility.

The difference between arthritis and arthrosis of the fingers and hands is that the former is curable and the latter is not. In arthritis, the synovium and the capsule of the joint are affected.

Damage to cartilage and bone tissue occurs only in the late stages in a neglected state. In arthrosis, the cartilaginous tissue is first affected, and then the bone, the inflammation of the synovial membrane has a secondary origin, that is, it develops against their background.

Symptoms: how arthritis differs from arthrosis

Arthritis is accompanied by symptoms that are characteristic of inflammation:

  • body temperature rises, chills appear, weakness occurs throughout the body;
  • the local temperature of the affected joint and its soft tissues rises;
  • the joint swells, the skin around it turns red;
  • the joint is deformed;
  • his mobility decreases;
  • in the morning there is stiffness that disappears within an hour after physical activity;
  • pain syndrome is present both during movement and at rest;
  • complications are observed in the form of lesions of internal organs (heart, lungs);
  • excessive sweating occurs;
  • weight loss.

Arthrosis develops gradually and is not noticeable in the early stages. It is often mistaken for physical fatigue. The chronic form of arthrosis is also called osteoarthritis. To the question of which is worse - arthrosis or osteoarthritis, the answer is obvious. The latter option is a consequence of the development of arthrosis and its acute form.

Symptoms of arthrosis include the following:

  • pains appear after physical exertion, with sudden movements, bends, bends, after rest, painful sensations disappear;
  • there is a characteristic crunch in the joints;
  • is characterized by pain after prolonged rest, which disappears within 15-20 minutes of mobility (this is due to congestion occurring in the joint);
  • worried about the night dull aching pain arising from venous stasis;
  • the inflammatory form of the pathology is accompanied by edema and pain;
  • the joint is deformed, its mobility decreases.
differential diagnosis of symptoms of arthritis and arthrosis

As you can see, the differences in symptoms are not significant: in both cases there is pain, stiffness and fatigue. Arthritis and arthrosis can affect different joints in the human body. With damage to the spine and intervertebral discs, osteochondrosis develops - it is similar to arthrosis. Depending on the site of the disease, arthrosis of the ankle, shoulder, hip joints and so on is distinguished.

A detailed analysis of symptoms and differential diagnosis will help to pinpoint the pathology - arthritis or arthrosis.

Difference in treatment

Arthritis treatment is aimed at restoring the immune system, eliminating inflammation. In arthrosis, the primary goal is to prevent tissue destruction and relieve symptoms.

Arthrosis is treated by an orthopedic surgeon, arthritis - by a rheumatologist and a number of other doctors, depending on the origin of the disease.

The main therapy for arthritis includes the use of anti-inflammatory non-hormonal drugs, antibiotic therapy, and in severe cases, hormonal therapy and immunosuppressive drugs.

For arthrosis, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hormonal, venotonic and chondroprotective drugs are used.

In both cases, the diseased joint is provided with rest, the load is reduced, and therapeutic exercises and physiotherapy are used for recovery.

Therapeutic gymnastics has a good effect on improving the condition of the ligaments and joints, develops their flexibility and mobility. It should be borne in mind that exercise can only be done during remission and in the absence of inflammation. An orthopedic surgeon or a physiotherapy specialist can choose a set of exercises, depending on which joint is affected.

It is very important to follow the correct technique in order not to harm the already affected joints. All movements should be slow and smooth. Exercise should not be uncomfortable or painful, otherwise you should stop exercising or switch to another type of exercise. Initially, it is best to perform the exercises under the supervision of a doctor, and then incorporate them into daily practice at home.

how to relieve joint mobility during treatment with arthritis and arthrosis

To facilitate joint mobility, special orthopedic means are used: compression knee pads, corsets, neck collars and other accessories, depending on the affected area.

Physiotherapy is useful in both cases, for arthritis it is only given during remission. It has a minimum of contraindications and side effects, does not cause allergic reactions and is suitable for most patients.

The methods of electrophoresis, ultrasound, phonophoresis, magnetotherapy, shock wave therapy, cryotherapy are used.

All of them have a beneficial effect on the healing process, promote deeper penetration of medicinal substances into tissues, improve blood circulation, lymph flow, metabolic processes, and trigger natural regeneration processes.

In severe cases, when the joints are completely destroyed, endoprosthetics surgery or complete joint replacement is performed.

Traditional medicine in the treatment of arthrosis and arthritis

When using folk remedies in the treatment of arthritis and arthrosis, you should take into account the stage of the disease and the risks of allergic reactions, therefore, you should consult your doctor before using them. With arthritis, the use of additional non-traditional means of treatment is permissible only during the period of remission, this is due to the autoimmune nature of the disease.

Decoctions and tinctures that relieve inflammation, applications and baths, relieve swelling, rubbing and ointments are used as remedies. Prevention and treatment with folk remedies should play an auxiliary, and not the main role. This should always be taken into account in such serious diseases.

For arthrosis, use snow and salt. A glass of snow is mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt, the sore joint is rubbed with the mixture for 5 minutes.

To restore cartilage tissue in arthritis and arthrosis, tinctures of chamomile, pine needles and aloe are used. The mixture can be added to hand baths or applied.

Animal fats are mixed as ointments: grated lard, badger fat, interior lard. They are mixed with calendula or comfrey. They help relieve pain, improve nutrition, and reduce inflammation.

Fresh leaves compress. A leaf of burdock or cabbage is smeared with honey, applied to the sore joint, covered with polyethylene and a warm cloth and left overnight.

the result of the treatment of arthritis and arthrosis with folk remedies

The clay is mixed with water until sour cream is thick, gauze soaked in the mixture is applied and left for an hour. It is necessary to repeat the application for two weeks daily.

Aloe juice, vodka and honey can be mixed in equal proportions. Soak gauze with this mixture and apply to a sore spot for 1 hour.

Chamomile, hops, St. John's wort and petroleum jelly are mixed as an ointment. Applied daily for a month.

Two tablespoons of chopped celandine are added to 150 ml of vegetable oil (olive, sesame, hemp and any other), let it brew for a week and used as an ointment.

Freshly squeezed aloe juice is taken orally 2 teaspoons 4 times a day.

Two tablespoons of St. John's wort and wormwood pour 1 liter of boiling water, let it brew for 10-15 minutes and take 1 tablespoon each.

Pour dandelion flowers with vodka in a ratio of 1 part dandelion + 2 parts liquid, leave for 2 weeks and use for grinding.

What is the difference between osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis

These concepts are of a similar nature. Both osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis are accompanied by the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joints. With osteochondrosis, the joints of the bones of the spine, intervertebral discs are affected, and with osteoarthritis, the joints of the limbs.


In order to prevent the development of joint diseases, it is necessary to be aware of the risk factors. These include:

  • aging processes of the body, depletion and deterioration of tissue nutrition;
  • a sedentary lifestyle provokes the appearance of stagnation, impaired blood circulation, lymph flow, curvature of the spine;
  • excess weight is accompanied by metabolic disorders in the hormonal and endocrine systems, excessive stress on the spine, joints and heart.
how to prevent the development of arthritis and arthrosis

For prophylaxis, the following recommendations should be introduced into your daily routine. Feasible sports and soft types of fitness have a good effect on the condition and maintenance of the health of joints, ligaments and the spine.

Two to three times a week is enough to prevent congestion and improve overall well-being.

To nourish the cells of the body, you need to diversify your diet with foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B and PP. It is necessary to eat cereals, vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meat, and also to reduce the use of foods containing harmful carcinogenic substances, fried, uncooked smoked, salty and spicy foods.

You can consult a dietitian to help you develop the right eating habits and diet.

The psychosomatic nature of the described diseases suggests that it is necessary to avoid stress, resolve conflict situations in constructive ways, and not succumb to despondency and depression.


Arthritis and arthrosis are quite serious human diseases that lead to severe irreversible consequences. The latent nature of the development of arthrosis does not allow it to be detected in the early stages. Therefore, it is very important to be attentive to your health, not to wait for the pain to "pass by itself" and to seek medical help in a timely manner.