What is the Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?


If you find yourself having joint tension issues or bones issues, you’ll definitely come across these two terms – arthritis and osteoarthritis. But the thing is, people often get confused between the two terminologies. Does it mean the same thing? If not, what are the difference between them?

Well, all of your confusion is about to get resolved because we are going to dive down about the two most common diseases that affect people today. Let’s get started!

Are Arthritis and Osteoarthritis the same?

Both are diseases and are the result of inflammation of the joints but they are two separate diseases. In regards to treatment, the aim in both cases is to restore the normal function of the joints and improve flexibility. You can achieve this through medical supervision at various arthritis clinics in Singapore.


Arthritis is characterized by the reduction or abnormal production of joint cartilage as the bones rub against each other. This results in pain in the joints that are affected and the joint cannot move freely, even for a minute. As arthritis progresses, people will develop rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks healthy joint cartilage. It causes the fingers, toes, wrists, ankles and shoulders to become inflamed and swell. This eventually leads to joint pains, stiffness and swelling in the affected joints. The condition becomes more severe and in the long term, people can end up with open joint replacement surgery.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), there are two main types of arthritis, namely rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. So, as you can see, these diseases belong in the same family of pathology.


Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is a degenerative condition where the cartilage of the joints becomes more fragile and puts pressure on the bones. People with osteoarthritis are usually at the age of 50 years and above, and tend to suffer from osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, wrists and hands. People with osteoarthritis can continue to live a normal life and can even go for sports and pursue other hobbies. However, consult with your doctor first before engaging in such events.

Which is the More Common, Arthritis or Osteoarthritis?


It depends. Osteoarthritis is a disease that tends to develop in older people. It is a degenerative disease of the joints that tends to cause a loss of strength in the muscles. By the time, the person is 80 years old, they will have osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and hands. The disorder, however, is much more common in people above the age of 65 years.

Arthritis is an inflammatory disease. It can affect people of any age, although it is much more common in adults above the age of 50. The condition develops over a period of time.

Which One is More Deadly?

The answer to this question is pretty simple. While osteoarthritis affects the joints of the feet, wrists, ankles, knees and elbows, rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint. When you’re diagnosed with both these conditions, you’ll experience joint pain and stiffness, as well as poor muscle function. On a serious note, arthritis is likely to be more severe.

What is the Best Arthritis and Osteoarthritis Treatment in Singapore?

That’s a good question. Well, in regards to treatment, both diseases are associated with treatments that aim to restore the normal function of the joints and improve flexibility. Osteoarthritis Treatments include pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, and ensuring you maintain a healthy weight.

Additionally, your physical therapist will show you a variety of exercises that can help you regain mobility in your joints. For example, walking and swimming are great exercises that may help people suffering from arthritis.

As for the joint replacement, this is a specialized surgery that involves the replacement of damaged cartilage, usually in the knee and shoulder.

Why Choose Pain Relief Singapore?

The pain relief clinic has lots of experience treating different kinds of joint pains. Our friendly staff and rehabilitation therapists offer traditional pain relief therapy with non-invasive pain treatment solutions. They can also provide you with alternative treatments that are more cost-effective. If you are in pain, don’t hesitate to call our clinic for advice. We will be happy to serve you!

What To Expect When I Visit The Pain Relief Clinic

A typical visit will involve our doctor first understanding your medical history, concerns and previous experience with other pain treatments.

For patients who have consulted many people but have yet to receive a clear diagnosis, selecting an affordable imaging scan might be recommended to confirm the cause of your pain..

Some patients have already done scans with other doctors for their pain condition but are still not clearly told what they suffer from.

Dr Terence Tan is happy to offer you a second opinion and recommend how best to manage your condition.

We also see patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis from specialist pain doctors, but are "stuck” because treatment options offered are not practical or acceptable.

We can help by discussing options that you might have potentially never been told of.

A common experience is when a patient has already consulted a specialist doctor for pain management and is told to consider orthopaedic surgery which they find too aggressive.

Or they may have seen doctors for their pain and were prescribed painkillers with potential side effects which made them feel uncomfortable.

Many of our patients have also first tried complementary treatments or acupuncture with traditional Chinese pain doctors.

They look for a second opinion after finding any relief experienced from other treatments to be temporary or requiring repetitive treatments, which add up to time and cost.

Especially in such situations, we emphasize using non-invasive medical technology you likely have not been told about .

This can make a big difference to your results.