Joints perform important functions in the body, such as providing flexibility to your skeleton, enabling and directing different kinds of movement, and giving you stability. Not only do joints support movements, but they also carry your weight too. That means your joints are strong and resistant, but they’re not immune to injuries or degenerative conditions. Sometimes these conditions are mistaken for one another, which is why it’s important to shed more light on this subject. Scroll down to learn everything about arthrosis vs. arthritis.
What is arthrosis?
Arthrosis is a degenerative joint disease indicated by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is a strong and flexible connective tissue that cushions bones and joints. The main role of cartilage is to function as a shock absorber by reducing friction and preventing them from rubbing against each other.
Also known as osteoarthritis (OA), this condition occurs when cartilage wears down with time. Although OA can affect any joint in your body, it primarily targets hips, knees, spine, and hands. People experience OA differently. For some people, OA is mild, and in others, it’s more severe.
Evidence suggests that OA in humans has been around since Paleolithic times.
Symptoms of arthritis and arthrosis
The best way to understand arthrosis vs. arthritis differences is to observe both from different angles, such as symptoms. Below, you can see what people may experience with OA and arthritis.
1. Symptoms of arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis depend on the type of illness you may have. In most cases, people experience the following:
- Joint swelling
- Skin redness and warmth around affected joint (or more of them)
- Decreased flexibility and range of motion in arthritic joints
2. Symptoms of arthrosis
Symptoms of arthrosis develop gradually over time. They usually include the following:
- Joint pain (especially with or after movement)
- Stiffness of the affected joints
- Loss of flexibility
- Grating sensation when using the joint
- Bone spurs or hard lumps around the affected joint
- Feeling as if the joint isn’t as stable and strong as before
- Clicking or popping sound when joint bends
- Muscle weakness around the affected area
Make sure to see a doctor if joint pain and stiffness won’t go away.
What causes arthritis and arthrosis?
Arthrosis vs. arthritis causes will depend on the type of the condition. For example, OA is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, which may occur with age or due to various factors (see below).
Further, OA could develop as a complication of other conditions, such as hypertrophic osteoarthropathy, a condition indicated by clubbing of fingers and toes. Causes of this condition are genetics and chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease.
While OA develops when cartilage wears down, arthritis may result from a buildup of crystals in the joints. Sometimes people develop arthritis because the immune system starts attacking healthy tissues and joints, which is called autoimmune disease. In many cases, the exact cause of arthritis is unknown.
Since various causes can pave the way to arthritis, it’s important to keep joints healthy and pain-free by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Difference between arthritis and arthrosis
The main difference between arthrosis vs. arthritis is that the latter is an umbrella term for conditions that cause pain and inflammation in joints. On the other hand, OA is a specific degenerative condition.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and psoriatic arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is OA, which affects 32 million people in the U.S. and 500 million people worldwide. More precisely, OA affects about 7% of the world’s population.
Risk factors for arthritis and arthrosis
As mentioned above, OA is just a type of arthritis, which is the biggest arthrosis vs. arthritis difference. Everyone can develop OA or other types of arthritis, but some people are at a higher risk. The biggest risk factors for OA and arthritis are listed below:
- Age: OA and other types of arthritis are more prevalent in older people because cartilage loses its water content and lubrication as we age.
- Gender: OA and arthritis are usually more prevalent in women. Men are more prone to gout, though.
- Weight: carrying excess weight puts a lot of pressure on joints and increases the risk of injury, inflammation, pain, and limited mobility.
- Injuries: sustaining an injury due to an accident or as a consequence of infection can increase the risk for OA and other types of arthritis.
- Joint deformities: uneven joints and malformed cartilage increase the risk of OA.
- Occupation: repetitive motions tend to increase the risk of OA because cartilage may start wearing down. Jobs that put a lot of pressure on your joints could increase the risk of OA.
- Genes: evidence confirms that OA may have a genetic component. Other types of arthritis do too. That means people with a family history of these conditions are more likely to develop them.
How are arthrosis and arthritis diagnosed?
See the doctor if you experience symptoms of arthrosis or other types of arthritis. Don’t ignore them, thinking they’ll go away. The doctor will inform you about your condition and help you manage it.
When it comes to arthrosis vs. arthritis, there’s not much difference in terms of diagnosis. The process of diagnosing OA and arthritis includes:
- Physical exam: The doctor checks the affected joint for tenderness, swelling, flexibility issues, or joint deformation.
- Imaging tests: to diagnose osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis, the doctor may order an X-ray or MRI. Imaging tests show cartilage loss and the presence of bone spurs.
- Lab tests: may include blood tests and joint fluid analysis to rule out other conditions or types of arthritis.
Treatment of arthritis and arthrosis
The doctor recommends the most suitable treatment approach based on the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, patient’s lifestyle, and overall health. In most cases, the treatment may include:
- Medications: you may need to take over-the-counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain.
- Dietary supplements: products like Flexoplex joint health supplement protect and promote the function of your joints and their mobility and stability. Flexoplex delivers natural ingredients that lubricate joints, reduce inflammation, and relieve discomfort.
- Occupational therapy: The therapist helps you develop strategies to modify the work environment and manage pain and discomfort.
- Physical therapy: physical therapy shows exercises to relieve joint pain and improve your quality of life.
- Surgery: the last resort, only an option when other approaches fail. It may include joint replacement of fusion.
- Lifestyle modifications: a healthy lifestyle is necessary to keep joints healthy and pain-free, which is why it’s important to exercise regularly, lose weight, and eat a healthy diet.
- Braces and shoe inserts: may reduce discomfort and pain when you’re standing or walking.
- Heat and cold: applying warm compresses can reduce stiffness, whereas cold packs or gels decrease pain.
Can arthrosis be cured?
Since arthrosis is a degenerative joint disease, it is impossible to cure it completely. However, it’s possible to manage this condition and keep it under control.
To make that happen, it’s necessary to modify your lifestyle. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet and do exercises to relieve joint pain and manage your weight.
Is walking good for arthrosis?
Yes, walking is beneficial for people with this condition. Walking maintains joint flexibility, strengthens surrounding muscles, and promotes overall joint health. Most importantly, walking is a low-impact physical activity, ideal if you have osteoarthritis. Evidence shows that moderate exercise doesn’t accelerate OA and helps manage it.
How serious is arthrosis?
Although not a life-threatening condition, OA can be serious and cause significant pain and disability. Keep in mind that OA can affect people differently. Some people may experience mild difficulties that don’t affect their quality of life; others struggle to move. It depends on which joint is affected, a person’s lifestyle, and overall health. With a healthy lifestyle, you can keep joints healthy and pain-free and thereby reduce the risk of developing OA.
Is yoga good for arthrosis?
Yes, yoga is good for OA. Yoga increases strength and flexibility, lowers stress on joints, and improves their function. Plus, yoga promotes relaxation and improves mind-body connection. A study from the International Journal of Preventive Medicine confirmed that yoga decreases pain and other symptoms of knee OA. Subjects from the yoga group reported higher physical activity levels and better quality of life. If you’re looking for exercises to relieve joint pain, you should give yoga a try.
The main difference between arthrosis vs. arthritis is that the latter term is just a general name for more than 100 conditions affecting joints and OA is one of them. While OA and other types of arthritis are common, it’s possible to reduce the risk of developing them or manage symptoms such as pain and swelling. Remember, a healthy lifestyle is crucial for managing OA and other forms of arthritis.