What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Back to blogsWritten on: 2023-12-15

What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two conditions that often go together. However, there are essential differences between these conditions. In addition, they should also be treated differently. In this blog, we have a closer look at the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage in the joints is damaged. When this cartilage wears down, it recovers with difficulty. This can be caused by injuries and heavy or prolonged strain, for example. This leads to the bones that meet at the joint coming into contact with each other. Typical symptoms in osteoarthritis are pain, stiffness and swelling.

What is rheumatism?

Rheumatism is caused by inflammation of the joint. This inflammation can cause wear and tear. This leads to osteoarthritis. Conversely, the wear and tear caused by osteoarthritis can also cause inflammation. As a result, the two joint conditions often go together.

The risk factors and causes

Rheumatism is classified as an autoimmune disease and often has a genetic factor. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but factors such as genetics, hormones and environmental influences may play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is mainly caused by long-term wear and tear of joints. Here, factors such as age, overuse of joints, obesity and genetic predisposition may increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Treating rheumatism and osteoarthritis

In general, rheumatism is treated by the rheumatologist and osteoarthritis by the orthopaedist. People with symptoms in one joint will see the orthopaedist, and those with pain in several joints will see the rheumatologist. It is also possible to make use of painkillers or any orthopaedic aids such as orthotics or rheumatoid gloves. Furthermore, exercises are available to continue your life with rheumatism or osteoarthritis as normally as possible.

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