Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are several different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common forms. Although the symptoms of these two types of arthritis can be similar, it's very important to distinguish between them in order to determine the proper treatment. 

At the University of Michigan Health System, our experienced rheumatologists will do appropriate tests to determine which type of arthritis you have. Then we will develop an effective treatment plan and will explain your options.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage joint surface wears out. Osteoarthritis usually begins in an isolated joint. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body instead of intruders. In this case, it attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often targets several joints at one time. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include: 

  • the symmetrical nature of the disease (arthritis in both hips, for example), 
  • fever
  • anemia
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite

For more details about these two different types of arthritis, please visit our Rheumatoid arthritis page and our Osteoarthritis page.

Contact Us / Make an Appointment by calling

  • Orthopaedics at 734-936-5780
  • Rheumatology Services at 888-229-3065

Selecting a health care provider is a very important decision. Because we are highly experienced in treating arthritis and joint inflammation, we would like to help you explore your options. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of clinics and their contact information. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about how we can help.