Adam C. Young, MD
Alan C. League, MD
Albert Knuth, MD
Alejandra Rodriguez-Paez, MD
Alexander E. Michalow, MD
Alexander Gordon, MD
Alexander J. Tauchen, MD
Alexander M. Crespo, MD
Alfonso Bello, MD
Ami Kothari, MD
Amy Jo Ptaszek, MD
Anand Vora, MD
Andrea S. Kramer, MD
Andrew J. Riff, MD
Angela R. Crowley, MD
Angelo Savino, MD
Anthony Savino, MD
Anuj S. Puppala, MD
Ari Kaz, MD
Ashraf H. Darwish, MD
Ashraf Hasan, MD
Bradley Dworsky, MD
Brian Clay, MD
Brian J. Burgess, DPM
Brian R. McCall, MD
Brian Schwartz, MD
Brian Weatherford, MD
Brooke Vanderby, MD
Bruce Summerville, MD
Bryan Waxman, MD
Bryant S. Ho, MD
Carey E. Ellis, MD
Carla Gamez, DPM
Cary R. Templin, MD
Charles L. Lettvin, MD
Charles M. Lieder, DO
Chinyoung Park, MD
Christ Pavlatos, MD
Christian Skjong, MD
Christopher C. Mahr, MD
Christopher J. Bergin, MD
Craig Cummins, MD
Craig Phillips, MD
Craig S. Williams, MD
Craig Westin, MD
Daniel M. Dean, MD
David Beigler, MD
David Guelich, MD
David H. Garelick, MD
David Hamming, MD
David Hoffman, MD
David M. Anderson, MD
David Raab, MD
David Schneider, DO
Djuro Petkovic, MD
Douglas Diekevers, DPM
Douglas Solway, DPM
E. Quinn Regan, MD
Eddie Jones Jr., MD
Edward J. Logue, MD
Ellis K. Nam, MD
Eric Chehab, MD
Eric L. Lee, MD
Evan A. Dougherty, MD
Garo Emerzian, DPM
Gary Shapiro, MD
Giridhar Burra, MD
Gregory Brebach, MD
Gregory J. Fahrenbach, MD
Gregory Portland, MD
Harpreet S. Basran, MD
Holly L. Brockman, MD
Inbar Kirson, MD, FACOG, Diplomate ABOM
Jacob M. Babu, MD, MHA
Jalaal Shah, DO
James M. Hill, MD
James R. Bresch, MD
Jason G. Hurbanek, MD
Jason Ghodasra, MD
Jason J. Shrouder-Henry, MD
Jeffrey Ackerman, MD
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Jeffrey Staron, MD
Jeffrey Visotsky, MD
Jeremy Oryhon, MD
Jing Liang, MD
John H. Lyon, MD
Jonathan Erulkar, MD
Jordan L. Goldstein, MD
Josephine H. Mo, MD
Juan Santiago-Palma, MD
Justin Gent, MD
Justin M. LaReau, MD
Kellie Gates, MD
Kermit Muhammad, MD
Kevin Chen, MD
Kris Alden MD, PhD
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Leigh-Anne Tu, MD
Leon Benson, MD
Lori Siegel, MD
Lynn Gettleman Chehab, MD, MPH, Diplomate ABOM
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Marc Breslow, MD
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Marie Kirincic, MD
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Mark Mikhael, MD
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Shivani Batra, DO
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Todd Simmons, MD
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Van Stamos, MD
Vidya Ramanavarapu, MD
Wayne M. Goldstein, MD
Wesley E. Choy, MD
William P. Mosenthal, MD
William Vitello, MD

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common debilitating joint diseases, affecting more than 50 million people throughout the United States. Indeed, as the U.S. population ages, the incidence of arthritis is expected to increase. Arthritis comes in two primary forms, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis and Its Symptoms

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joints that may be caused by aging joints, injured joints, or obesity. The disease, which is more prevalent in women, may affect the joints in the hand, wrist, neck, back, knee, hip, or a combination of any of the above. The symptoms of OA vary from individual to individual. There are some instances where people have X-rays that show obvious degeneration of the joints, yet they experience very little pain. In other cases, people experience excruciating pain. In still other cases, people experience pain temporarily and then go without pain for months or years before suffering from pain again.

OA of the spine and hand is typically associated with the formation of bony spurs. OA of the knees is typically associated with obesity, repeated injury, or joint surgery. OA of the fingers can cause the formation of hard bony enlargements at the small joints or middle joints of the finger.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Its Symptoms

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints and body tissue to cause inflammation of the lining of the joints. RA is a chronic disorder that may worsen over time. The inflammation can destroy bone and cartilage to cause deformity of the joints. Over time, joint deformity causes pain and loss of function. Symptoms of RA include pain, warmth, and swelling in the area of inflammation as well as joint stiffness, fatigue, and fever.

Some people experience symptoms immediately, while symptoms may take years to present themselves in others. The inflammation associated with RA is usually symmetrical, causing symptoms simultaneously on both sides of the body. In addition to joint pain, RA may cause nodules (lumps) to develop in internal organs and under the skin. RA may inflame and damage certain glands of the mouth and eyes, or cause a reduction of red and white blood cells. Inflammation may develop in the lining surrounding blood vessels, the lungs, and the heart. When RA affects children, it is known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). In addition to causing joint inflammation, JRA can stunt a child’s growth.

Differences Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

While both OA and RA are characterized by joint pain, OA is strictly limited to the joints and does not affect any other organs. RA, on the other hand, may affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, and nerves. The cause of RA is not clearly defined. With RA, the immune system, which usually protects the body, has a tendency to attack healthy joints and tissue. Some experts suspect that genetics and environmental conditions may cause the immune system to react in this way, but research has yet to definitively prove this theory.

Get Help Today

If you are experiencing joint pain, or if you have been diagnosed with arthritis and you seek relief from the pain, contact an IBJI Rheumatologist to schedule an appointment for an examination.

*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.