The two most common type of arthritis – rheumatoid and osteoarthritis – are actually two different diseases with very divergent symptoms. Here’s a quick look at some of the differences.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • An autoimmune disease that often strikes in the prime of life (ages 25 to 50)
  • May develop within weeks or months.
  • Usually affects joints on both sides of the body (such as both knees)
  • Causes redness, warmth, and swelling of joints
  • Affects many joints, usually small joints of the hands and feet, and may include the elbows, shoulders, knees or ankles
  • Can affect the entire body, with general feelings of sickness and fatigue as well as weight loss and fever
  • Prolonged morning stiffness
  • Causes major fatigue


  • The age-related wear and tear of cartilage disease that usually occurs after age 40
  • Usually develops slowly over many years.
  • Affects isolated joints, or joints on only one side of the body at first.
  • Usually doesn’t cause redness or warmth of joints
  • Most commonly affects weight-bearing joints (such as the knees and hips)
  • Discomfort is usually related to the affected joints
  • Brief morning stiffness
  • Rarely causes fatigue