Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are two pathologies related to the joints, which cause joint pain and reduce the quality of life of the patient. Both arthritis and osteoarthritis have different causes but they have some risk factors in common, such as excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to an increased possibility of suffering from these diseases.

In this article we present the basic differences that exist between these pathologies, after briefly defining them.


Arthritis is a pathology of the joints in which there is an inflammation of the same. This can be due to various causes such as autoimmune diseases, infections or trauma and usually disappears when the infection or trauma is treated and cured. Arthritis affects the synovial tissue, which is the membrane that internally covers a joint and results in decreased range of motion of the joints, stiffness (especially in the morning when the disease begins), increased temperature, redness of the affected area and variable pain depending on the intensity of the inflammation.

Likewise, arthritis presents extra-articular symptoms such as those mentioned (redness and pain). In some cases, arthritis can be potentially destructive and irreversible, especially when it is caused by autoimmune disease. While in other cases it can be treated with anti-inflammatories or antibiotics to stop an infection and consequently reduce the inflammation that the pathology produces.


Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory degenerative pathology, linked to the aging of the person that frequently and in most cases affects the joints. Osteoarthritis occurs mainly in the cartilage, which is the tissue that covers and gives smoothness to the displacement of the surfaces of a joint. This is degenerating and reducing as the disease progresses.

Likewise, osteoarthritis is a pathology that occurs in almost all people after the age of 50, although it may take longer in men. It produces deformity of the joints and limitation of their movements. It’s usually not too serious, and symptoms can be managed with rest and medication.

In another order of ideas, osteoarthritis does not present extra-articular symptoms beyond the lack of mobility and its causes are varied, being mostly related to environmental, genetic and physical factors of the person, although the history of the disease is a factor. of risk, it has not been determined that it is hereditary.

Once the definitions of arthritis and osteoarthritis have been presented, the following table is presented where the basic differences between them are indicated:

Arthritis osteoarthritis
Arthritis is an inflammatory pathology. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative pathology.
This is caused by various factors such as autoimmune disease, trauma, infections, among others. This is caused by the aging and wear of the cartilage.
Arthritis attacks the synovial tissue (membrane that internally covers a joint). Osteoarthritis attacks the cartilage (tissue that covers the surface of the joint).
Its main symptom is joint inflammation. Its main symptom is stiffness and lack of mobility.
It attacks people of any age. It mostly attacks people over 50 years of age.
Arthritis presents extra-articular symptoms such as redness and pain. Osteoarthritis does not present extra-articular symptoms.

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