Arthritis vs Arthrosis: Differences Worth Knowing

Arthritis and arthrosis sound quite similar and also affect the body in a similar way as in both conditions, the joints, ligaments and bones get affected. Symptoms such as pain and stiffness in the joints are also experienced in both cases. However, there is quite a bit of difference between them, which need to be known. Know the differences between arthritis and arthrosis in detail for a complete understanding.

Arthritis vs Arthrosis

Arthritis vs Arthrosis: Differences Worth Knowing

Arthritis is a very broad term which is used to describe different types of conditions which cause joint inflammation. This inflammation can also affect human organs, skin and muscles. Each type of inflammation is given a different name such as goutosteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis to name some.

The other name for osteoarthritis is arthrosis which is one of the most common types of arthritis and is caused when the cartilage and joints in your body experience wear and tear in it. Your joints move with the help of cartilage which covers the end of your bones and is a slippery tissue. With age, the cartilage begins to deteriorate and might also vanish completely. This results in the bone-to-bone contact in the joints thereby leading swelling, pain and stiffness.

Though arthrosis is most likely to affect the joints in hips, knees, hands and neck region, it can affect any other joint as well. As your age increases, so does your chances of developing this disease. The other common trigger for arthrosis is an injured joint, which has many times more chances of wearing out earlier than otherwise.

Thus basically, the difference between arthritis and arthrosis is that arthritis is a broad term for inflammatory condition of the joints, skin or other tissue, while arthrosis is a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis of the joints, which results from wear and tear of the joint. Thus arthrosis can be called as a type of arthritis, caused due to degeneration or wear and tear of the joints.

Arthritis vs Arthrosis: Differences Based on Their Symptoms

It is important to understand that the symptoms of one type of arthritis are sometimes totally different from another. The difference between arthritis and arthrosis can be made clear with a thorough understanding of the symptoms. Though stiffness and pain in joints is common amongst all types of arthritis, arthrosis might cause other symptoms which help distinguish between the two.

Here are some symptoms commonly seen amongst all types of arthritis.

  • Pain and swelling in joints
  • Skin redness around the affected joints only
  • Range of motion becomes restricted around affected joints

Here are the most common symptoms of arthrosis, which can point towards the possibility of arthrosis.

  • Pain in joints which increases with time and prolonged exertion
  • Stiffness of joints which too increases gradually
  • Affected joints feel tender and become less and less flexible
  • Rubbing or grating of bone-to-bone
  • Small-sized extra bone growth which occurs around the affected joints and is known as bone spurs.

Arthritis usually has various causes, types and can affect the joints and tissues in various ways, while arthrosis is a type of arthritis caused due to aging or degeneration of the joints. Hence the symptoms of arthritis may be present in arthrosis but the nature of those symptoms can help to analyze the difference between arthritis and arthrosis. For example, joint pain is present in both, but joint pain with prolonged exertion is common in arthrosis. Also, the grating, creaking sound or sensation in the joint is typical that the cushioning cartilage is worn out or degenerated causing the bone to rub against each other.

Arthritis vs Arthrosis: Differences Based on Their Risk Factors

The risk of developing arthritis and arthrosis are most dependent on the following factors. Some factors may be same for both the diseases while some may differ from one another.

  • Age – This is one of the most common risk factors. With age, the chances of getting arthrosis or other any other type of arthritis increases ten-fold.
  • Weight – The heavier the person is, more the pressure on his or her joints thereby increasing the chances of getting arthrosis and related joint damage. Some types of arthritis, though not all, can also develop in heavy people quite easily and earlier in life.
  • Gender – Arthrosis is much more common in women as compared to men. However, in arthritis, specific types of arthritis may be found more commonly in a particular gender. For example, gout is more common in men while rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women.
  • Deformity in the joints – This risk is specific to arthrosis as unevenness in joints and malformed cartilage can increase the chances of this disease considerably.
  • Injury – The risk of arthrosis increases when you meet an accident or incur an infection which can cause joint damage. Along with arthrosis, you may also develop other types of arthritis.
  • Genes – If you have a family history of arthrosis, you are more likely to develop it later on in life. However, your genes do not increase your chances of getting arthritis except rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Occupation – You are more likely to develop arthrosis if the work you do on a regular basis requires you to put a lot of stress on your cartilage and joints or when specific joints are repeatedly involved.

Arthritis vs Arthrosis: Differences Based on Their Treatment

All types of arthritis including osteoarthritis or arthrosis need to be treated medically and that too without delay. Regardless of the fact as to what type of arthritis you are suffering from (including arthrosis) the doctor is most likely to prescribe appropriate medicines to offer relief. These would include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines to help control the inflammation and also reduce pain. However, medications which are given to cure arthritis often have many side-effects and hence, should not be continued for a long time.

Alternative medicine and physical therapy have found great use for patients suffering from any type of arthritis including arthrosis. Alternative medicines such as acupuncture, use of orthotics and occupational therapy are quite helpful in reducing the pain and inflammation without having any side-effects on the body. Physical therapy on the other hand is also quite effective and studies reveal that patients of arthritis who continue to take physical therapy over the years have received positive results from it with the pain and inflammation decreasing by almost 60 percent on an average.

However, in some extreme cases when medicines, alternative medicines and physical therapy fail to work and the patient runs a high risk of deformity in his joints, it becomes necessary to undergo a replacement surgery. This is mostly done in those cases where the erosion of the joint tissues and its extent of damage are irreversible and quite severe.

The type of surgery in arthritis may depend on the type of arthritis and the joint involved, whereas, in arthrosis, replacing the degenerated joint is most commonly advised. Surgery too needs to be followed by proper rehabilitation and physical therapy to restore optimal functioning of the joint.


Arthrosis is just a type of arthritis with several other types of arthritis also being present. Some of the symptoms of arthritis and arthrosis can be similar while some are quite different and help reveal what type of arthritis the patient is suffering from. By knowing the difference between arthritis and arthrosis, you can understand your condition better and work towards improving it.

No matter whether you are suffering from arthritis or arthrosis, it is imperative to seek timely medical advice and initiate treatment at the earliest to avoid joint deformity and loss of joint function.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 22, 2017

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