Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis

As it is said that “Health is Wealth”. Bones are Integral parts of your body that allows you to stand, move and do multiple chores. And If they are damaged what could be worse? 

Osteoarthritis Vs osteoporosis is generally thought to be similar. But they are not. Although both of them are bone problems their scheme of action, attributes, symptoms, and treatments are completely different. 

If you are suffering from any of the two bone disorder our best rheumatologist in NJ are here to assist you in any way required.  

Let us give you a comprehensive guide about osteoarthritis versus osteoporosis and how we are treating it. 

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder. A condition that affects the joints causing pain and stiffness. It happens when the cartilaginous membrane between two joints starts to break down. As a result, bones rub against each other and cause less mobility and discomfort.  


Common Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:  

  • Pain in the joints while in motion. 
  • Stiffness of joints after being inactive for a while. 
  • The feeling of ache around concerned area. 
  • Swelling around the soft tissues of the joint. 
  • Loss of stretchability. 
  • Scratchy sound while moving due to loss of lubrication. 


A rheumatologist assess symptoms, perform X-ray, physical examination or lab tests to identify osteoarthritis. 

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis

In the disease osteoporosis, there is significant loss of bone marrow density and bones become hollow from the inside. Due to this bones become weak and the risk of bone fracture increases. According to National Council on Aging osteoporosis effects 54 million people in the US each year. This condition often goes unnoticed until fractures occur. 


Osteoporosis doesn’t show any specific symptoms in the early stage. However, as the condition progresses, the person may notice: 

  • Pain in the back 
  • Shortness of height due to spine impairment. 
  • Recurring fractures especially in the hip, wrist, and spine. 
  • Delicate fingernails 


Bone Density measurement is the most reliable way to anticipate osteoporosis to know the risk of fracture. 

Osteoarthritis Vs Osteoporosis:

Now let us find the key difference between Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis and what our experts at SNS Rheumatology have to say about it. 

Reason of occurrence

The cause of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis vary with each other. Osteoarthritis is commonly linked with aging and the depletion of joints over time. Factors such as Obesity, foregoing injuries, or genetics can lead to formation of osteoarthritis. 

Nonetheless,  Osteoporosis is associated with hormonal changes primarily decrease in estrogen levels during menopause. Various other factors such as family history, low levels of calcium and vitamin D, excessive consumption of alcohol, or smoking can be a cause of osteoporosis to happen. 

Development of disorder

Osteoarthritis develops slowly. It can take weeks to months or even years to develop and show its symptoms. Also, its progress can easily be detected using an X-ray. On the other hand, you cannot detect whether you have osteoporosis or not until a fracture occurs. 

Affected Area

Osteoarthritis damages the hand, lower back, neck, and weight-bearing knee joints. While Osteoporosis affects joints of the hip, wrist, or even spine. 

Osteoarthritis vs Osteoporosis: Risk Factors

However, Both of the condition are different in causes and treatment. They share similar risk factors which includes: 

  • Joint injury Extensive exercise or prolonged knee bending causes stress on the joint further leading to bone breakage. 
  • Age The risk of bone problem to occur increases with age. Elderly people are more likely to encounter either osteoarthritis or osteoporosis than young individuals. 
  • Gender Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis develop 4 times faster in women than males due to low levels of estrogen hormone after menopause. 
  • Overweight Obesity is the leading cause of both of them as weight-bearing joints of obese people are under great stress due to weight. 
  • Inheritance A person having a family history of the disease can easily develop these disorders.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis

As discussed earlier, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are two different bone diseases. Their treatments vary as well. 

Pharmacological management of Osteoarthritis: 

As stated by National Center for Biotechnology Information the first line of treatment for osteoarthritis is Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs NASIDs. Certain other procedures like hyaluronic acid preparations, PRP can also be performed depending on patients condition. 

  • NSAIDs Most of pharmacological therapies are onset using NASIDs. They are easy to take oral medications and has significant role in patient’s treatment due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Slow-acting agents Methotrexate is the most widely used slow-acting agent that reduces the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Various other COX-2 inhibitor are also useful as other therapeutic medications. 
  • Viscosupplementation Injections These supplementation injections can help manage the symptoms of Osteoarthritis. In this procedure, our expert rheumatologist injects hyaluronic acid into the affected joint to restore lubrication of cartilaginous membrane. 
  • Steroidal injections In case of severe bone disorder, steroids injections are preferred over oral medication as drug delivery is easy in this case. 
  • PRP (plasma rich platelet injection) It is the most advanced procedure to treat osteoarthritis. During this process, our experts take persons own blood to cure damaged tissues. It provides long term relief from symptoms. 

Pharmacological management of Osteoporosis

If you have been detected with Osteoporosis. It is important to take medication along with lifestyles changes to avoid bone breakage. Some of the most widely used medication are listed below: 

  • Antiresorptive drugs These medication prevent bone loss, increase bone density and lower the chance of bone breakage. Drugs of this class called Bisphosphonates includes, Ibandronate, Zoledronic acid and Estrogen or hormone therapy etc. 
  • Anabolic drugs Drugs of this class helps to build new bone, increase bone density and decrease probability of bone breakage. Teriparatide and Romosozumab are the two commonly used medication. 

Prevention and Lifestyle Changes

In case of Osteoarthritis: 

Although it is impossible to prevent osteoarthritis completely. There are certain precautions you can opt to reduce the progression. 

  • Regular exercise Doing moderate exercises such as swimming or cycling can help strengthen the muscles, reduce pain around affected joints and improve mobility. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight is also crucial to delay osteoarthritis symptoms. 
  • Eat a balanced Diet Food rich in Vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables are beneficial to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is necessary to have a balanced diet contain fibers, minerals and healthy fats in it. Must add fruits, vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy and healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil in your daily routine.  
  • Have a good Sleep A peaceful sleep have multiple benefits for your body and is also helpful to reduce osteoarthritis. Experts advice to go to bed at the same time every night to have better sleep. 

In case of Osteoporosis: 

As Osteoporosis is characterized by bone weakness. All the preventive measures are given in order to prevent fracture. Some of them includes: 

  • Perform weight-bearing exercises such as walking or dancing. As the are important to maintain good mobility and keeps joints intact. 
  • Limit the use of alcohol If you are a women don’t drink more than one alcoholic drink per day. And If you are a male limit the use of alcohol to 2 drinks per day to prevent osteoporosis symptoms. 
  • Eat Healthy As bone density is compromised in osteoporosis, Foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium are super foods to take as they build bone mass swiftly. According to Mayoclicnic the recommended per day intake of calcium is 1200mg for women over the age of 51 and for men over the age of 71 or older. 
  • Refrain smoking 

Why should you choose SNS Rheumatology?

It is our utmost preference to provide our patients best services and medical assistance. With our 20 years of successful career in chronic disease management. Our amazing team of rheumatologists continuously strives to give you the best facilities to ease your pain and make you the best version of yourself. 


On the whole, Osteoarthritis vs Osteoarthritis may sound similar but both are pretty different from each other. Osteoarthritis affects the bones causing pain and stiffness in the joints. While Osteoporosis weakens the bones, increasing the risk of fracture.  

Keeping in mind these differences, a person can seek proper medical guidance and make lifestyle changes to manage the ailment effectively. Remember, early diagnosis and protection can go a long way in maintaining good bone health. 


Q1: Can osteoporosis cause degenerative disc disease? 

Yes, the presence of osteoporosis increases the risk of developing DDD ( Degenerative Disc disease). As osteoporosis causes endplate thinning by forming micro-fractures in the spine. 

Q2: Is osteoporosis the same as osteoarthritis? 

There is no similarity between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis except the prefix “Osteo” that comes before both of them. 

Q3: What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteoarthritis? 

Osteoporosis is bone weakness in which the risk of fractures occurs due to decrease in bone density. While osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which lubrication between two joints is lost. 

Q4: Which one is more serious Osteoarthritis or Osteoporosis? 

Both of them can be mild, moderate or severe. But since high risk of bone breakage in osteoporosis, experts say it is more dangerous if left untreated. 

Q5: What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis? 

It can be treated in three ways. Lifestyle changes- doing exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Medication – to relieve the pain. Therapies- to make life better in a long run. 

Dr. Qaisar Usmani

Meet Dr. Qaisar Usmani, a Board Certified Rheumatologist with over 20 years of experience in the field, currently serving as Section Chief at Monmouth Medical Center and GPHA, Inc. in Pennsylvania, specializing in the treatment of various Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal diseases.

Dr. Sadia Ghafoor
Dr. Sadia Ghafoor

Meet Dr. Sadia Ghafoor, a board certified specialist in rheumatology who completed her medical training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine and her fellowship in rheumatology at the State University of New York Stony Brook campus, with additional board certification in internal medicine.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Don’t miss our future updates!
Get Subscribed Today!

Schedule an Appointment