Arthrosis or Arthritis, these words look alike however they have two different meanings. Many people are not sure what the differences are. Some professionals don’t even bother explaining the difference anymore, resulting in even more confusion.
Let’s start by a little bit of etymology (word origins)
The word arthritis comes from arthri- (joint) and –tis for inflammation.
On the other hand the word arthrosis comes from arthr- (joint) and –osis for abnormal.
This doesn’t help explain the difference but sometimes it’s helpful to know where words come from.
Two words same meaning
Arthrosis is also known as Osteoarthritis. Both words are used interchangeably to describe the exact same condition. To help you remember try thinking of “O” for Arthrosis and Osteoarthritis.
So what is the difference
Arthritis is not a specific condition; it is actually a regrouping of multiple conditions affecting the joints including arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and many others diseases you’ve probably never heard of. Some arthritic disorders can even affect the skin like psoriatic arthritis.
So what is the big deal if you say arthritis instead of arthrosis?
Osteoarthritis is actually very special in the arthritis family. Why? Because, it is the only one that everybody will suffer from at some point in their life.
- Arthrosis is the degenerescence and the aging of a joint
- It can be abnormal, advanced and too early in a joint life
- Eventually all joints will age to a certain extent
- Everybody will, one day, suffer from a certain level of osteoarthritis.
- We all age but in a lot of cases it originates from abnormal wear and tear
All the other types of arthritis are diseases that not everybody will be affected by. They are all unique conditions that will affect your joints in very different ways.
Because of the difference between arthrosis and all the other types of arthritis, it is more appropriate to use the right word to describe the condition.
I hope this helps make a better distinction between these two words. Next time you hear someone talking about their arthritis ask them which type. Maybe they do not even know and you can help them better understand.
Quick recap: A little bit of osteoarthritis is normal for everybody in their later years, but with normal aging no joint replacement should be needed. If you know someone needing hip ore knee replacement that would be considered abnormal arthrosis. If you still are unsure what kind of arthritis you might be dealing with, talk to your health care professional.
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