Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Explained

Arthritis is a disease that affects your joints, causing swelling and tenderness. It can affect any joint in your body, but it is common in the feet, hands, hips, knees, and lower back. The most common symptoms of Evergreen arthritis include pain and joint stiffness, which worsen over time. Arthritis is common in older adults, but this condition can affect men, women, and children of any age. Below is a detailed account of the common types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; it occurs when the cartilage covering joints wear out, causing friction between bones when you move the joint. When bones rub against each other, they wear down, and the body produces bone spurs which cause restricted movement. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, but the most affected ones include the joints in your spine, hips, knees, and hands. Most patients with osteoarthritis report pain and stiffness in the joint, loss of flexibility, grating sensation, and swelling. The affected joints may also feel tender when applying light pressure.

Although osteoarthritis is common with old age, some factors can cause this condition to occur earlier or progress faster. For example, if you are overweight, the added stress on your joints causes the cartilage to wear down more quickly. Also, fat tissues produce harmful proteins that inflame the joints in your body. Other osteoarthritis risk factors include age, joint injuries, sex, and genetics.

Osteoarthritis causes irreversible joint damage; there is no cure for this condition, but certain medications can help slow down disease progression, alleviate pain, and improve joint function.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints, eventually causing bone erosion. Besides affecting your joints, rheumatoid arthritis can damage other body systems, including the lungs, eyes, skin, heart, and blood vessels. During its onset, rheumatoid arthritis affects smaller joints first like those in your hands and toes of your feet. But as this condition progresses, it spreads to bigger joints like those in your hips, shoulders, ankle, elbows, knees, and wrists.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes tenderness and swelling; the affected joints may also feel warm. Your joints may feel stiff, especially in the morning or after long periods of rest or inactivity. Other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may be mild or severe, and they may come and go. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis sometimes gave flares – periods of increased disease activity. Other times the pain and swelling in the joints fade or disappear for some time. These periods of flares and remission alternate; eventually, this condition can cause joint deformity. The cause of RA remains unclear, but genes are likely to play a part in this condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins in middle age but can occur at any age. It is also more likely to affect people who smoke cigarettes and those with a family history of the disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis also appears to be expected in people who are overweight.

Consult your doctor at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center to learn more about arthritis.