ARTHRITIS AND ARTHROSIS
Arthritis and arthrosis are two of the most spread rheumatic diseases characterized by pain and stiffness.
Sometimes they are confused, but they are different, arthritis is a chronic auto immune inflammatory disease that can appear at any age, even in children and arthrosis is a degenerative disease that starts to show after 50 years old.
Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory systemic disease (concerning the whole body) attacking the joints which become painful, swollen and can deform over the years. It can also concern other organs like the lungs, the eye, skin and blood vessels.
The most spread forms are:
Rheumatoid arthritis: a consequence of the immune system attacking the joints
Arthritis gottosa: due to an increase of uric acid in the blood, forming crystals in the joints, mostly in the foot, it can be very aggressive.
Spondyloarthritis: it’s a kind of arthritis concerning the spine and the pelvis.
Usually both sides of the body are symmetrically concerned, mostly the hand and foot joints. It frequently affects the small joints and if not treated or not responding to treatments, it can lead to bone erosion and deformity. Pain is not caused by movement and persists at night. A typical characteristic of the disease is morning stiffness when waking up, that improves after moving. In the most advanced phases of the disease the physical limitation is due to tendon and ligaments lesions. Pain is usually combined with swelling, heat and redness, typical signs of inflammation.
Arthrosis is a degenerative disease of the articular cartilage due to overuse and aging of the joints, usually concerning the spine and the knee. It occurs between 60 and 80 years old and is caused by the degradation of the cartilage covering the bone surface inside the joints (the function of cartilage is to reduce friction and when it gets damaged because of overuse, it loses elasticity and becomes stiffer and easily damageable).
In addition to cartilage degeneration, tendons and ligaments of the joints get damaged as well, causing pain due to inflammation.
The most common symptoms related to arthrosis are pain, stiffness and physical limitation.
The pain is mostly felt after physical exercise or when carrying loads impacting the joint. Usually pain is more intense in the evening and is relieved with rest.
There is no pain at night. In the mild forms of arthritis there is no stiffness, it only appears in moderate or serious forms ( always temporarily and never for more than 30 minutes) As soon as the disease advances, pain increases as a consequence, but usually there is no swelling.