Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are many different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more here. 

Table of Contents

Understanding Arthritis

The deterioration of cartilage and excessive bone development are symptoms of osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the synovial membranes and other connective tissues around the joints. The most prevalent type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis affects around 10% of the American population.

Having a better understanding of arthritis allows you to better manage any symptoms or side effects. Joint stiffness and pain are the primary signs of arthritis, and these symptoms often get worse with age. More than one hundred diseases and disorders that affect the body’s joints are categorized under the general term “arthritis.” People of all ages can be affected, and the disorders can range from moderate to severe.

What is Arthritis?

Acute or ongoing joint inflammation is referred to as arthritis. Pain, stiffness, a reduction in range of motion, and joint abnormalities are just a few of the symptoms. There are various forms of arthritis, and each requires a unique treatment approach.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Millions of people in the US have chronic joint pain due to arthritis each year. Fifteen million people with arthritis report having severe joint pain due to their disease. In addition, most people with arthritis experience ongoing joint pain and stiffness throughout their lives.1

Types of Joints

Joints can be categorized based on the predominant connective tissue type or the range of motion. Common types of joints in the body are fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial. Some other types of joints include:
  • Diarthrosis: These are freely moveable joints.
  • Amphiarthrosis: These are partially moveable joints.
  • Synarthrosis: These are immovable joints in the body.

How Common is Arthritis?

In the US, 24% of the population suffers from arthritis. 2
This results in over three hundred billion dollars in annual costs for medical care, making it a prevalent subject of interest when conducting studies on how to help care for different types of arthritis. 3

What Are the Different Types of Arthritis?

Arthritis can take many distinct forms, meaning it requires a unique treatment approach for each new case. Identifying the type of arthritis requires a medical history and physical examination. Types of arthritis will be detailed below.


The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is when a joint’s cartilage starts to degrade and the underlying bone starts to alter. These alterations typically take time to manifest and worsen.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In autoimmune and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body. This causes painful swelling in the areas of the body that are affected. Rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to joint tissue.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Some people with psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis. Some common symptoms of this are thick pitted fingernails and red, scaly rashes. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, but psoriatic arthritis often affects fewer joints.


A typical and excruciating form of inflammatory arthritis is gout. Usually, it starts with the big toe joint and progresses to other joints. Gout typically goes through periods of remissions and flare ups.


A persistent, autoimmune condition known as lupus can affect numerous body organs. Since lupus symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways and are frequently confused with those of other illnesses, a proper diagnosis can be challenging. Getting an early diagnosis and rheumatologist-assisted treatment for lupus is critical because its symptoms can range from minor to potentially fatal.

Childhood Arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), commonly referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most prevalent kind of arthritis in children. Childhood arthritis can permanently harm joints, which can make a child disabled.

Other Types of Arthritis

Other types of arthritis include anterior knee pain, which manifests as discomfort in the front of the knee near the kneecap. Women are more apt to develop anterior knee pain than men. Another arthritis common in children is the chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. Other types of arthritis include familial Mediterranean fever, benign nocturnal limb pains, and many more.

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

The two most prominent types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is crucial to distinguish between these two types of arthritis even though their symptoms can often be similar. Rheumatoid arthritis targets the immune system, whereas osteoarthritis wears down the bones.

What is the Difference?

The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis begins with what causes each arthritis type. Osteoarthritis develops later in life after the cartilage that lines and cushions your joints has been subjected to years of wear and strain. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age.
Osteoarthritis frequently starts in a single joint. Due to the autoimmune nature of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system targets the body rather than pathogens. The synovial membrane that covers and safeguards the joints is attacked in this instance.

How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

A specialist diagnoses osteoarthritis through a review of symptoms, physical examination, X-rays, and lab tests. The diagnosis is based on a history of joint pain worsened by movement and image tests such as MRI.

How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosed?

Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages due to the early signs and symptoms similar to many other diseases. To identify it, specialists perform physical examinations and speak with patients about their health history and symptoms. In addition, the rheumatologist will request imaging tests, as well as blood testing.

Causes and Symptoms of Arthritis

Each individual has different causes and symptoms of arthritis. Joint stiffness and pain are the most common arthritis signs and symptoms.
Many kinds of arthritis have unknown causes. Arthritis can run in the family’s genetics, or deficiencies in the immune system or metabolic conditions can also lead to various kinds of arthritis. Each type of arthritis has unique risk factors, some of which may be controlled and others cannot. Some of the most common risk factors for the development of arthritis include:

Family History ?

People may be more prone to arthritis if their parents or siblings have the condition. Some types of arthritis run in a family’s genes.


Osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the various varieties of arthritis that are more likely to develop as people age.


In comparison to men, women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, whereas males primarily suffer from gout.


Numerous types of arthritis may develop due to lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and stress.

Previous Joint Injury

People are more prone to later develop arthritis in a joint that has been injured, possibly while participating in sports.


Excessive weight gain strains the spine, knees, and hips. Those who are obese are more likely to get arthritis.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

Individuals with arthritis experience different symptoms. The most common symptoms of arthritis include:
  • Joint pain 
  • Decrease range of motion
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in a joint 
  • Tiredness
  • Redness and warmth in a joint 
  • Joint stiffness
Many kinds of arthritis have unknown causes. Most arthritic conditions are caused by malfunctions of the immune system that lead to the body attacking its joint tissues. Certain kinds of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and childhood arthritis, have certain genes associated with them. 4

How Is Arthritis Treated?

Treatment for arthritis focuses on enhancing movement in the joint and reducing symptoms. Doctors may get patients to try different treatments or combinations before determining what works best for them. Specialists treat arthritis with surgery, medication, and physical therapy.

arthritis types

How Can Arthritis Be Prevented?

Making lifestyle adjustments can lower a person’s risk of developing some types of arthritis, along with helping to mitigate certain symptoms. Individuals can prevent arthritis by:
  • Maintaining a healthy weight 
  • Protecting the joints
  • Engaging in regular physical activities
After an individual has been diagnosed with arthritis, the next step is to determine the most effective method to treat the form of arthritis. There are many different options, such as:


Medical practitioners may recommend over the counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for moderate to severe joint swelling and pain. Doctors may also prescribe topical analgesics and injections to relieve symptoms of arthritis.


People with arthritis benefit from physical therapy, which works to strengthen the affected muscles and joints. The physical therapist will use heat or cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and manipulation to relieve arthritis symptoms.


People with arthritis may opt for surgery to relieve joint discomfort and improve mobility. Surgery for joint replacement aims to completely or partially replace a broken joint with a synthetic one. The new prosthetic joints have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

People can reduce mild, transient joint pain with a few home treatments and lifestyle changes. This involves putting ice on the injured joints, which helps ease pain and swelling. Individuals should reduce harmful habits such as excessive alcohol intake and smoking to aid in the healing from arthritis.

Get Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis at J. Flowers Health Institute

Consult with experts at J. Flowers Health if you or a loved one is experiencing osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The most recent methods and therapies are used by experts at J. Flowers Health to help you manage and recover from different types of arthritis. Our comprehensive approach to health is built around finding and treating the cause of your health issues.