How does arthritis differ from arthrosis?

Arthritis and arthritis are diseases characterized by pathological changes in the joints, but the difference between arthritis and arthrosis is significant. To understand the difference between arthritis and arthrosis, it is necessary to consider the etiological factors, pathogenesis, symptoms of arthritis and arthrosis. The treatment of arthrosis and arthritis also has different approaches.

What is arthritis, arthrosis? How do joint lesions manifest themselves in arthritis and arthrosis, what is the difference? In arthrosis and arthritis, the differences are due to the mechanism of occurrence of the pathological changes.

The treatment of arthrosis and arthritis is long-term, multi-component. Often, as a result of untimely treatment, arthritis and arthrosis can be considered as successive stages of the pathological process. Having understood what arthritis and arthrosis are, we will determine the differences between arthrosis and arthritis.

Arthritis, classification

Arthritis - due to inflammatory changes, combines both the pathology of the joints themselves and is a symptom of other diseases that occur with their defeat. How to treat arthritis depends on identifying the cause that caused the inflammatory process.

According to the etiological factor, there are:

  • Primary - rheumatoid, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Still's disease, etc.
  • Secondary - complications of an infectious, non-infectious process (reactive with chlamydial infection, hepatitis, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, septic lesions).

According to the number of affected joints:

  • Monoarthritis - with damage to one joint.
  • Polyarthritis - affecting a group of joints.

By the nature of the course of the disease:

  • Acute arthritis - with a bright clinical picture of inflammatory changes in the connective tissue of the joint.
  • Subacute - an intermediate variant, the stage of resolution of an acute condition.
  • Chronic arthritis - with an obliterated clinical picture, a slow course, periods of attenuation and exacerbation.

Osteoarthritis, classification

healthy and destroyed joint with arthritis and arthrosis

Deforming osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthrosis or arthrosis is a disease based on degenerative changes associated with destruction of all joint structures, cartilages, ligaments, muscles, tendons and bones. This is the main difference between arthrosis of the joints and arthritis, leading to irreversible deformations of the affected joint surfaces, dysfunction and damage to the patient.

  • Idiopathic - no known cause. The pathological process is based on an autoimmune mechanism of damage (primary rheumatoid arthrosis in young patients).
  • Secondary arthrosis is the result of metabolic disorders, trauma and inflammation. For example, rheumatoid arthritis that occurred after a history of rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis, causes

The risk factors are:

  • Disruption of metabolic processes in the body.
  • Hereditary predisposition factor.
  • Infectious diseases.
  • Immunodeficiency conditions, presence of autoimmune diseases, allergic manifestations.
  • Increased load on the musculoskeletal system due to professional activity, traumatic component.

Arthrosis, causes

Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis are:

  • Age. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the elderly, with the exception of rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs in adolescence. According to WHO statistics, about 10% of the world's population suffers from arthropathies.
  • Physical overload, injury, excess weight, which increases the load on the joint. Large joints suffer more than others: hip - coxarthrosis, knee - gonarthrosis.
  • Hereditary factor: characteristics of metabolic processes, structure of cartilage tissue.
  • Previous inflammatory processes without appropriate therapy.

Arthritis, symptoms

pain in the knee joint with arthritis and arthrosis

Regardless of the cause of the disease, the signs of the disease have a similar clinical picture in the acute phase of the process and in the period of exacerbation of the chronic course of the disease.

  • Pain is the first symptom. It has different intensity, more often it is constant, it does not depend on physical activity.
  • Hyperemia of the skin in the area of the joint, local increase in temperature (the area of the joint becomes hot to the touch), pronounced edema.
  • The presence of an effusion (fluid) in the cavity of the joint bag. Microbiological and cytological examination of the fluid from the inflamed cavity are important for diagnosis and identification of the causative agent. The knee joints are more often affected. The presence of an inflammatory nature of the fluid inside the joint capsule is the difference between arthritis and arthrosis of the knee joint.
  • Extraordinary manifestations of the main disease: fever, vascular damage - vasculitis, heart valves, lung disease - alveolitis, pneumonitis, kidney damage - nephritis, skin manifestations, hematological changes - anemia, increase in the number of platelets in peripheral blood.
  • Limitation of range of motion in the joint, dysfunction.

Osteoarthritis, symptoms

pain in fingers with arthritis and arthrosis

The symptoms of arthrosis are caused by prolonged malnutrition, blood supply to the cartilage plate. The cartilage loses its elasticity, thins, and outgrowths form from the bone tissue in the joint cavity - osteophytes, which irreversibly deform the joint surface, disrupt functionality, cause pain and significantly limit mobility.

  • pain. The beginning of the disease is characterized by moderate intensity, pain, constant pain. Intensification of the pain syndrome is associated with an increase in dystrophic changes in the cartilage and deformations. The pain can vary, be temporary: from morning stiffness, to constant and subsiding during the day. A rapid, intense increase in pain is a poor prognostic sign.
  • visible deformity.
  • Functional disorders: flexion, extension.
  • Characteristic creaking when moving.
  • The development of immobility of the joint leads to disability of the patients.

Osteochondrosis is a common pathological condition of the spine, which is based on the same cartilage changes as in arthrosis.


x-ray for diagnosis of arthritis and arthrosis

The diagnosis of arthritis and arthrosis is aimed at identifying the main cause of the disease, determining the degree of activity of the process, evaluating the prognosis and the effectiveness of the treatment, and promptly diagnosing the complications of the disease.

The complex of diagnostic tests includes general clinical laboratory tests, instrumental tests of the liver, kidneys, X-ray diagnostics, microscopic, bacteriological tests.

  • Distinctive features of arthritis of different etiology are: an increase in the sedimentation rate of erythrocytes, an increase in the level of leukocytes in the peripheral blood, which allows determining the severity of inflammatory changes, an increase in C-reactive protein in the blood plasma - an important laboratory diagnostic study.
  • X-ray examination allows you to see a characteristic picture of inflammatory joint surfaces.
  • MRI is the most informative method for detecting inflammatory changes in the joint capsule.
  • Doppler ultrasound is used.
  • In difficult cases, it is possible to perform arthroscopy for the purpose of differential diagnosis and treatment.

A fairly informative method that allows you to establish a diagnosis, to distinguish arthrosis or arthritis, is an X-ray examination. Depending on the identified changes, the degree of deformation of the intra-articular cartilage and the width of the joint gap, four degrees of pathological changes in arthrosis are distinguished.

Arthritis, principles of treatment

pills for the treatment of arthritis and arthrosis

Arthritis treatment is long-term, the main goal is to cure the disease that caused inflammatory changes in the joint capsule or to achieve a long-term relapse-free course of the disease, to prevent the development of irreversible changes, deformations, to improve the quality and length of lifeof the patients.

For treatment are widely used:

  • Medical methods of influence. Depending on the etiological factor, the following are used: antibacterial, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, introduction of anti-inflammatory drugs directly into the joint cavity, in severe forms of rheumatic disease, chemotherapeutic drugs are prescribed.
  • Non-drug treatment. An important role is played by physiotherapy exercises, adherence to a diet, a healthy lifestyle - refusal of smoking, alcohol, physiotherapy, timely orthopedic assistance and correction of existing disorders, prevention of exacerbations of concomitant diseases.
  • Surgery is not the treatment of choice. It is a means of helping patients in particularly difficult cases - with the development of severe complications, severe pain syndrome, ineffectiveness of the first two methods of treatment. There are limitations and certain indications for the appointment.

Osteoarthritis, treatment

therapeutic exercises for arthritis and arthrosis

Rheumatoid arthrosis is treated in a complex, including:

  • Non-drug therapy. In case of rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment includes therapeutic exercises, physiotherapy, protective regime, reducing the load, diet, weight loss.
  • Drug treatment is associated with pain relief. More often, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormonal drugs are prescribed.
  • Surgical treatment methods: plastic surgery, arthrodesis, prosthetics of large joints (knee, hip joint).

Prevention of exacerbations

Due to the possibility of a long, chronic course of the disease, the development of complications, regardless of the cause of their occurrence, patients are subject to constant or long-term monitoring, rehabilitation measures developed taking into account individual characteristics and the nature of the disease.

Important preventive value are:

  • Treatment of inflammatory diseases of the musculoskeletal system, a complex of rehabilitation measures after injuries.
  • Limiting workloads, healthy lifestyle, proper rational nutrition as a factor in the fight against overweight.
  • Timely orthopedic correction of bone deformities acquired during life.

Remember that at the first signs of a problem, it is important to contact a specialist in time. Late initiation of treatment increases the risk of possible negative consequences of the disease.