Although the words arthritis and osteoarthritis are written very similarly and give the idea of the same meaning, they differ quite a lot in their causes, symptoms and treatment.

The word “Rheumatism” is generally associated with rheumatological diseases, but within this group there are different pathologies with diverse characteristics, among them:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Juvenile arthritis.
  • Septic arthritis.
  • Scleroderma.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Gout.
  • Lupus.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Sjögren’s syndrome, among others.

Rheumatoid diseases mainly affect the connective tissueof the whole body and the locomotive system (joints, bones and muscles).

Rheumatoid arthritis

“The body’s own defensive cells do not recognize other cells as their own and attack them, producing inflammation in the joints and collagen tissue of the whole body, pain and bone deformity”.


“Autoimmune and multisystemic disease of predominance in small joints, with maximum incidence between 40 and 60 years of age, which presents a chronic course. Its aetiology is unknown, although it is thought to be the result of the action of an antigen on an individual with a certain genetic base. The antigen could be exogenous or autoantigenic. Its typical serological marker is rheumatoid factor”.

Right hand with rheumatoid arthritis and signs of joint deformation .


“Excessive wear of the articular faces of the bones”.


“Osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, characterised by the destruction of the hyaline cartilage that covers the bone surfaces”.

Example of bilateral hip osteoarthritis with replacement of the right joint (left photo) and marked joint wear in the left hip (right photo)

Comparative table of the most common characteristics

Objectives of physiotherapeutic treatment of arthritis

  • Reduce pain and establish healthy postural habits.
  • Implementation of measures to prevent the progression of the deformity. (Orthosis, kinesiotaping, etc.)
  • Controlled muscle strengthening to prevent muscle atrophy.
  • Facilitation of the correct performance of exercises and other self-care and prevention measures.
  • Promoting adapted and continuousphysical activity.

Treatment of arthritis with neuromuscular bandages

Some aerobic activities carried out in a continuous and controlled way by a physiotherapist have proved to be effective as tools to improve the quality of life of these patients.

Physiotherapy is a very good option when choosing a treatment parallel to the doctor.

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PhysiotherapyArthritis and osteoarthritis – what’s the difference?