How Is Joint Pain Different in Rheumatoid Arthritis Than Osteoarthritis?

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The joint pain symptoms in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can be similar in certain ways, but also have some striking differences. Their similarities are by virtue of the fact that they are both inflammatory conditions of the joint. In osteoarthritis however, the inflammation is much, much less than in rheumatoid arthritis.

So typically, patients will experience pain in their joints, but may not have quite as much swelling or stiffness as in a rheumatoid arthritis patient. The timeline that we usually use when we're evaluating patients with arthritis, is how long their morning stiffness lasts. It is typical for osteoarthritis stiffness to last no more that one hour in the morning.

Where as in rheumatoid arthritis stiffness can last up to two to three hours, and in certain patients it can last all day. In rheumatoid arthritis again, the pain is usually slightly more and there are more signs of inflammation such as swelling and redness.