What is the difference between arthritis and arthrosis, what is the difference between pathologies

Arthritis and arthrosis of various joints

Arthritis and arthrosis are called the most dangerous enemies of joints that prevent them from working. However, despite the similarity of the name and one place of deployment, these diseases differ significantly from each other. Various joint pathologies are quite common, and according to doctors' estimates, every third person over 35 is faced with one of them. With age, the number of patients increases. In this article, we will understand how arthritis differs from arthrosis.

Reasons and distinctive features

Based on the names of the pathologies, the difference between arthritis and arthrosis is immediately noticeable. In medicine, the suffix "-it" indicates that the disease is associated with an inflammatory process. The suffix "-oz" is used to denote diseases that result in the destruction of tissues or organs. Based on this, we can say what arthrosis is and what arthritis is and distinguish them from each other.

Arthrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic pathology of the joints, as a result of which their destruction occurs.

If we talk about arthritis, then it is more often diagnosed in women between the ages of 17 and 50. As a result of its development, the pathological process occurs in the area of the synovial bag. Arthritis is an inflammatory process in the joint, which also has a negative effect on the condition of the liver, kidneys, lungs and cardiovascular system.

Women over 30 are more susceptible to osteoarthritis. After 50 years, the risk of its occurrence increases significantly. Both diseases affecting the joints can lead to disability if not treated early in development. At the same time, there is a difference - arthritis requires exclusively medical methods of therapy, while for the treatment of arthrosis it is necessary to combine medical and surgical methods.

If there is no treatment for arthritis for a long period of time, then the disease can turn into arthrosis, when destructive changes begin to occur in the synovial bag of cartilage and the tissues that surround it. In this case, arthrosis-arthritis is diagnosed.

Common causes of pathologies

There are common causes that can cause both of these diseases. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Congenital pathologies of bones and connective tissue.
  • Overweight.
  • Injuries.
  • Eating disorder.
  • Hypothermia of the articular region.
  • Lack or, conversely, excessive physical activity.
  • Disruption of metabolic processes in the body.
  • Infections in the body.

Considering the difference between arthrosis and arthritis, it is necessary to highlight the reasons that are characteristic of each specific disease.

Causes of arthritis

These reasons include:

  1. Weakened immunity and poor nutrition with an insufficient amount of vitamins and minerals in the diet. This leads to the fact that a person becomes susceptible to various infectious diseases. Thus, the infection can enter the joint area, which will lead to inflammation in it.
  2. Ligament or joint injuries (sprains, bruises, etc. ).
  3. Hypothermia of the joint area.

If several factors are combined at once (for example, overweight, bad habits and previous acute respiratory infections), then the risk of getting joint inflammation increases significantly.

Causes of arthrosis

Arthrosis differs in that its development in most cases is associated with heredity, acquired injuries and metabolic disorders in the body. Untreated arthritis can also lead to its development, since as a result of inflammation, metabolic processes in the joint area can be disrupted, which leads to its destruction.


Arthritis and arthrosis have a number of common features, including pain in the joint, swelling of the surrounding tissue, contour changes and limited mobility. But, there are also manifestations that distinguish these two diseases.

Arthritis is diagnosed based on the following symptoms:

  1. Sharp or aching pain that does not depend on movement in any way and can disturb even at rest.
  2. Joint stiffness in the morning or after a long rest.
  3. Hyperemia.
  4. Increased body temperature due to inflammation in the joint.
  5. Swelling of the articular region.
  6. Restricted mobility due to constant pain.

The following manifestations are more typical for arthrosis:

  • Dull pain that occurs during movement.
  • When moving in the joint, you can hear a characteristic click.
  • The joint is deformed.
  • Due to overgrowth on the bone, the movement of the joint becomes limited.
Deformity of the knee joint with arthrosis

Considering the difference between arthritis and arthrosis, we can distinguish the following difference: with arthritis, the patient suffers from general weakness of the body, frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, and possibly weight loss, which is not the case during arthrosis. Arthrosis always affects a specific joint (right or left) and does not develop in parallel in the other limb. Basically, the disease affects large joints (hip or knee). In this case, the difference between the pathologies is that even the smallest joints of the body are susceptible to arthritis.

Details of symptoms

Considering the symptoms that characterize arthritis and arthrosis, we can highlight some features that help identify pathology and make an accurate diagnosis.

Pain syndrome

Both pathologies cause pain. The only difference is that for arthritis, pain becomes a constant companion due to inflammation in the joint. It can occur not only while driving, but also appear at night.

In the case of arthrosis, soreness is caused by degenerative processes in the cartilage. As a result, the bone apparatus begins to suffer, which has lost its shock-absorbing properties. In this case, the painful sensations are aching in nature and are associated with movement or load of the joint.

At the initial stage of the development of the disease, the pain is insignificant, but over time it progresses and intensifies.

Clicks and Crunches

The characteristic sounds (clicking or crunching) in the affected joint help identify arthrosis. They occur when cartilage is worn out and bones are rubbed.


Arthritis and arthrosis lead to deformation of the affected joint. But in the first case, they are more visible visually. The difference is that with arthritis, you can note:

  • Redness of the skin around the affected joint.
  • Swelling.
  • Increased temperature in the affected area.
  • The appearance of nodules.
Redness of the skin and joint swelling with arthritis

In addition, arthritis is accompanied by general weakness of the body, increased sweating and psoriasis.

In the case of arthrosis, the joint practically does not differ visually from a healthy one. However, degenerative processes are already taking place inside it, in which the depletion of cartilage tissue begins.


Both diseases lead to certain limitations in joint mobility. But at the same time, there are some differences. Arthritic pathology leads to a decrease in motor activity gradually. The difference in arthritis is that inflammation and pain immediately constrict the joint, interfering with its work.


In case of arthritic damage to the joint, its swelling is clearly visible, which is caused by inflammation in the joint capsule. As a result of a blood test, an increased number of leukocytes is found.

Inflammation of the knee joint affected by arthritis

In case of arthrosis, there is no inflammation, so the level of leukocytes will be normal. Degenerative changes often occur unnoticed by the patient himself.

Risk Zone

People of any age can experience arthritis. The disease is diagnosed even in young children after suffering infectious diseases. Arthrosis is diagnosed mainly in the elderly, since changes in the cartilage tissues are of a long-term nature and are associated with metabolic disorders and other age-related factors.


Diagnosis of these pathologies is always aimed at finding out at what stage of development the disease is and what led to their development. The list of diagnostic measures includes laboratory, bacteriological, microscopic and instrumental examinations, x-rays.

The difference in the examination results makes it possible to make a specific diagnosis and draw up a plan for further treatment:

  1. CBC shows the number of leukocytes, which indicates the presence or absence of an inflammatory process.
  2. X-ray examination allows you to visually see changes in the articular tissues.
  3. Knee arthroscopy
  4. MRI makes it possible to detect inflammation in the joint capsule. This method is rarely used.
  5. Arthroscopy is prescribed in difficult cases to determine further therapy.


The difference between arthrosis and arthritis also applies to methods of treating pathologies. Disease therapy should be comprehensive and includes:

  • Drug use.
  • Physiotherapy procedures.
  • Diet.
  • Course of exercise therapy and remedial gymnastics.
  • Preventive measures.

Drug therapy

Traditional therapy will be effective if you start treating arthrosis or arthritis at the initial stage of their development, when you can limit yourself to taking medications. Treatment of arthrosis consists in prescribing to the patient:

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They make it possible to relieve the patient of inflammation and reduce pain. Such drugs are prescribed in the form of ointments, tablets or injections.
  2. Corticosteroids are used for acute illness.
  3. Chondroprotectors for joints are necessary for the restoration of cartilage tissue and synovial fluid. You need to take such drugs for a long time (at least 5-6 months in a row).
  4. Medical products based on hyaluronic acid, which have a positive effect on the cell membranes, helping to restore damaged cartilage tissue.
  5. Strong drugs with analgesic effect.

When choosing a medicine for arthritis, your doctor will recommend the following drugs:

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs required for symptomatic therapy.
  2. Glucocorticoid drugs are prescribed in case of stage 3-4 of acute arthritis.
  3. Modifying drugs are necessary to eliminate the focus of inflammation and prevent its further development.
  4. Immunosuppressants help speed up the healing process and are injected directly into the joint capsule.
  5. Drugs for pain relief.
  6. Antispasmodics.
  7. Desensitizers.
  8. Vitamin and mineral complexes.


In order to prevent complications that often accompany arthritis and arthrosis, you must follow a certain diet. There is no difference in which disease has to be treated. During this period, you need to exclude from your diet:

  • Salt.
  • Fatty meats and fish.
  • Sausages.
  • Smoked products.
  • Confectionery.
  • Alcohol.
  • Legumes.
  • Strong coffee and tea.
Proper nutrition for arthritis and arthrosis

The difference in nutrition is that if you have arthritis, you should avoid saturated meat broths. While for patients with arthrosis, on the contrary, they will be very useful, since they have a positive effect on the state of bone and cartilage tissue.

The diet of patients diagnosed with arthrosis-arthritis should be based on:

  • Low-fat meats and fish that should be steamed or baked without spices.
  • Fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Sufficient amount of clean water without gas.


The chosen methods of treating these diseases may differ in that for arthritis, the primary task is to remove the inflammatory process, while in arthrosis it is necessary to exclude all factors that have led to the destruction of articular tissues. Physiotherapy methods give a good result:

  • Laser treatment.
  • Ozone therapy.
  • Knee laser treatment
  • Magnetotherapy.
  • Phonophoresis using glucocorticoid.
  • Paraffin baths and baths.


Surgical intervention becomes the best option for the treatment of arthrosis, especially in its advanced stage. The operation makes it possible to eliminate the existing destructive components and artificially build up damaged cartilaginous tissue. If the changes in the joint are significant and this prevents a person from moving, then endoprosthetics is performed. Depending on the cause and extent of the lesion, one of the following operations is assigned:

  1. Arthroscopy - removal of osteophytes and other pathological formations.
  2. Arthrodesis is an artificial creation of the articular surface. Today, such intervention is extremely rare.
  3. Arthroplasty - restoration of a damaged joint by creating new structures.
  4. Endoprosthetics - replacement of a damaged knee joint with a new one made of inert materials.

exercise therapy

The special set of gymnastic exercises that is used for arthritis or arthrosis does not differ significantly. At the same time, gymnastics should be aimed at warming up and lightly kneading the affected area, without a significant load on it. Before you start doing the exercises, you need to warm up well.

The choice of exercise depends on the area in which the disease develops. This can be by tapping or pinching the joint, rotating it, bending it, or pulling it to the side.

Treatment of arthrosis is always long and gradual. At the initial stage, the use of drugs for arthrosis, physiotherapy procedures, massage and gymnastics is shown. If all this did not give the desired effect, an operation is performed.

Arthritis treatment is also complex. The difference is that its duration depends on the form of the pathology. A good effect is given by the use of drugs and physiotherapy, which relieve pain and relieve inflammation. Massage is not used in this case. It is extremely rare that physiotherapy exercises are prescribed. If drug therapy is ineffective, prosthetics are performed.

Only a doctor who understands the difference between arthrosis and arthritis should prescribe treatment for any disease. Self-medication can only aggravate the situation and lead to the development of complications.


To keep your joints healthy, preventing arthritis or arthrosis, it is important to adhere to certain preventive rules throughout your life:

  1. Exercise regularly, avoiding heavy lifting and injury. Cardio and swimming give good results.
  2. Avoid hypothermia.
  3. Ensure proper nutrition with sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals in food.
  4. Hiking to prevent joint disease
  5. Keep track of your weight and do not allow it to increase in excess of the norm.
  6. Avoid injury.
  7. Wear good quality footwear.

In addition, to prevent arthritis, it is necessary to treat any infectious diseases on time.

Osteoarthritis and arthritis are very similar to each other and cannot be completely cured. But by paying attention to them in time and starting competent treatment, the patient has a chance for a full life without disabilities.