Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid arthritisOsteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid arthritis - What you should know

When we talk about chronic diseases and illnesses, arthritis tops the list. Be it rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, both are equally painful and have almost the same treatments. Nonetheless, they leave a person very miserable and in distress, discomfort, and uneasiness. 

At SNS Rheumatology clinic, we specialize in treating connective tissue diseases and strive to introduce new treatments, procedures, and techniques to relieve our patients from such painful conditions. Let us discover osteoarthritis versus rheumatoid arthritis and how our rheumatology consultants are treating it successfully.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a very common form of arthritis. It is a condition in which the joints become inflamed and are characterized by the complete obliteration and wear-off of the cartilage present between the two joints. Around 32.5 million US adults have OA, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lack of cartilaginous membrane between the joints makes lubrication difficult, and the constant rubbing leads to friction. The clicking sound you often hear when your joints are in contact is often due to osteoarthritis.


  • Severe pain that is felt during movement
  • Stiffness in the joints that is often noticed early morning after waking up
  • A sense of tenderness felt when the joints are pressed or touched
  • Clicking sound when the joints are in movement
  • Mild to moderate swelling of the soft tissues around the joints

Diagnosis and clinical findings:

Osteoarthritis can very well be diagnosed through X-rays. According to our specialists at SNS Rheumatology clinic, the classical findings of osteoarthritis on an X-ray can show the formation of bone spurs that are fragments and bits of the bones scattered around the joint. The lack of space between the joints, swelling, and a slight bone deformity that progresses as the stages get advanced are also visible on an X-ray.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, it is an autoimmune disease that is also characterized by inflammation. An autoimmune disease refers to the condition in which your immune system starts to invade the healthy and sound cells of the body mistakenly leading to inflammation. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 1 in every 100 Americans suffers with rheumatoid arthritis, which is three times more frequent in women than in males. RA targets the skin, eyes, heart, and blood vessels as well.


  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Joint stiffness that worsens especially during the morning and can last for a very long time
  • Generalized tiredness and fever
  • Bone deformity leading to disfigurement of the bones

Diagnosis and clinical findings: Certain blood tests such as ESR and C-reactive proteins can show the confirmation of rheumatoid arthritis in which both the levels are fairly raised. According to diagnostic tools such as X-rays and MRI, the progress of rheumatoid arthritis shows the lining of the joints being completely damaged.

Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Let us dive into learning about the differences between both forms of arthritis and what our specialists at SNS Rheumatology have to say about osteoarthritis versus rheumatoid arthritis.

Cause: The most important and major difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is that osteoarthritis is caused by the complete absence and depletion of the cartilaginous membrane present between the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmune, and it is caused by the threat and invasion of the body’s own immune system.

Onset: Rheumatoid arthritis normally has a very rapid onset; it generally starts from weeks and can progress towards months. On the other hand, osteoarthritis is slow, and it takes about years for its progress and advancement.

Swelling tendency: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis present with swollen joints and are often very stiff, whereas patients suffering from osteoarthritis show mild to moderate swelling that can be tender, but the stiffness is very less as compared to that of rheumatoid arthritis.

Types of joints affected: If we talk about rheumatoid arthritis, it affects the symmetrical joints. For example, the joints of your left elbow can be affected as well as the right elbow at the same time. In the case of osteoarthritis, the knee joints are mostly affected because it targets the weight-bearing joints, especially in the lower extremities, for example, the ankle joint and the knee joint.

Time duration for morning stiffness: According to our rheumatology experts at SNS Rheumatology, it is inferred that rheumatoid arthritis has a longer duration of morning stiffness that lasts for as long as one to two hours; this is totally reversed in the case of osteoarthritis. The morning stiffness can cease within a very short span of time.

Systemic effects: Rheumatoid arthritis unfortunately affects the whole system of the body. You may feel generalized weakness, fatigue, tiredness, and fever as well, whereas osteoarthritis is not associated with whole-body symptoms and is only bound to target your joints.

Using NHANES data (1999–2015), National Center for Biotechnology Information compared that influence of age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index and smoking on these two very different forms of arthritis. Incidence of both increases with age and are more frequent in females than males. There is little apparent difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in women of normal as comparted to overweight, but both are more frequent in obese women, especially those over the age of 60.

Management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis at SNS Rheumatology

Arthritis in any form is very painful and can lead you to ultimate distress. It makes life miserable, and carrying out regular activities feels a lot more burdened. Considering the pain and discomfort of our valued patients at SNS Rheumatology, our rheumatologists ensure that they provide safe, sound, and less invasive treatment procedures that can be very effective and can offer instant results.

Here is a series of treatments we follow for connective tissue diseases in our regular practice:

Therapeutic management:

  • NSAIDs – All the pharmacological therapies and pain relief methods are initiated with NSAIDs. They are the most conventional approach and are still running successfully because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Corticosteroids – Our rheumatologists commonly prescribe corticosteroids as they are able to offer instant pain relief, especially for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We strongly recommend low doses because of the risk of toxicity and drug-related interactions in the body.
  • Slow-acting agents – Certain slow-acting agents such as methotrexate are very effective and observed to reduce the progress of osteoarthritis. Certain COX-2 inhibitors are also equally helpful as the other therapeutic drugs.
  • Less invasive procedures: When the therapeutic treatments fail to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, more better, less invasive, and effective approaches for osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis treatment are the other procedures enlisted below.
  • Steroidal injections – Steroid injections are directly injected into the knee joint and help in the reduction of inflammation. The reason why injections are more preferred over oral medications is because of the rapid infusion in the body, unlike medicines that take longer to absorb.
  • Viscosupplementation injections – Osteoarthritis is now very treatable by viscosupplementation. In our practice at SNS Rheumatology, it is a method through which hyaluronic acid is injected directly into the knee joints for the improvement of cartilage and enhances its production for better lubrication and movement.
  • PRP (Plasma rich platelet injection) therapies – At SNS Rheumatology, we always look forward to providing new, innovative, and more effective procedures that can be lighter on the body and heavier on the pain. PRP therapies are a unique technology that is derived from the patient’s body and is reinjected into the target joints for immediate pain relief.

When should you see a doctor?

If you notice the following symptoms getting worse, we would advise you to report to our practice at SNS Rheumatology clinic so that we can cater to you accordingly and offer you the right treatment of choice beforehand:

  • Swelling that has caused your joints to disfigure
  • An osteoarthritis flare-up
  • Pain that is persistent and becomes worsened
  • Severe stiffness that is not relieved by any means
  • A lethargic feeling that has bound you to become bedridden
  • Pain that is associated with fever

Our vision at SNS Rheumatology

Do you know why we have been successfully running for the past 20 years? It is because of the diligence and dedication of our profound rheumatologists and their set of credibility. Each and every staff member at SNS Rheumatology ensures that we can provide our patients with instant pain relief and can help them attain perfect health and shape. To retrieve our patients from discomfort and help them attain personalized care is our main objective.

The final verdict

Are you looking for a healthcare center where all your rheumatological problems can be covered under one roof? Here we are at your service to provide you with utmost care and treatments for all forms of connective tissue diseases. Our experts can also educate you about rheumatoid arthritis versus osteoarthritis, so what are you waiting for?

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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.

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