Difference Between Arthritis and Bursitis

Pain in the joints can be a symptom of either arthritis or bursitis. Along with the pain in the joints, some signs indicate a more precise cause.

Sometimes, arthritis and bursitis come along as they are dependent on each other.

However, they are two different inflammation caused due to various reasons. Arthritis is a chronic disease, while bursitis recovers within a few weeks. 

Arthritis vs Bursitis

The main difference between Arthritis and Bursitis is that arthritis causes inflammation in the bone and cartilage of the joints, while bursitis causes inflammation in the bursae. Secondly, Arthritis gets worsens with time, while bursitis recovers within a few weeks. Thirdly, Arthritis affects the hands, hips, knees, wrists, shoulders, and can also occur in other parts of the body. Meanwhile, bursitis affects the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, big toes, and including other parts. Fourthly, stiffness, swelling, and warmth around the joint can be seen in arthritis. Meanwhile, stiffness, swelling, and redness around the joint can be seen in bursitis. Lastly, tenderness is accompanied when joints are touched in arthritis. Meanwhile, pain is accompanied when pressure is applied to the joints. 

Arthritis vs Bursitis

Arthritis is the inflammation in the bone and cartilage of the joints. But, it gets worsens with time, although there are two types of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It affects the hands, hips, knees, wrists, shoulders, and can also occur in other parts of the body. As for the symptoms, Stiffness, swelling, and warmth around the joint can be seen in arthritis.

Additionally, tenderness is accompanied when joints are touched in arthritis. 

Bursitis is the inflammation in the bursae. But, it heals on its own within a few weeks. It affects shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, big toes, and also other parts.

As for the symptoms,  Stiffness, swelling, and redness can be seen in arthritis. Additionally, pain is accompanied when pressure is applied to the joints. 

Comparison Table Between Arthritis and Bursitis 

Parameters of comparison ArthritisBursitis
CauseArthritis causes inflammation in the bone and cartilage of the joints.Bursitis causes inflammation in the bursae. 
Duration Arthritis becomes worse with time.  Bursitis recovers within a few weeks. 
Affect Arthritis affects the hands, hips, knees, wrists, shoulders, and can also occur in other parts of the body. Bursitis affects the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, big toes, and including other parts. 
SymptomsStiffness, swelling, and warmth around the joint can be seen in arthritis. Stiffness, swelling, and redness around the joint can be seen in bursitis. 
Pain Tenderness is accompanied when joints are touched in arthritis.Pain is accompanied when pressure is applied to the joints. 

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis is the inflammation in the bone and cartilage of the joints. There are several forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Although, Rheumatoid arthritis is more inflammatory than osteoarthritis. 

Symptoms are considerably similar in both of them. However, treatment of both is given according to the actual condition of the patient. 

It cannot be cured wholly, but the symptoms lessen over time. 

As for the symptoms, arthritis can cause inflammation in the hands, hips, knees, wrists, and shoulders. However, it can happen in other parts of the body also.

But, the general location of the pain is mentioned above. 

The inflammation is accompanied by pain and aching in the joints. Also, stiffness, swelling, and warmth along with these can be experienced. Besides,  tenderness while touching the joint can also be experienced. 

Moreover, arthritis is chronic, so the illness can’t be cured. However, it can be maintained. Although, symptoms may disappear and appear again, and the condition can worsen sometimes.

So these symptoms are called flares. 

Other symptoms may be experienced in rheumatoid arthritis, such as weakness, tiredness, fever, and weight loss. The other symptoms are usually unrelated to the joints. 

In contrast to rheumatoid arthritis, there’re no other symptoms experienced in osteoarthritis. 

What is Bursitis? 

Bursitis is the inflammation in the bursae, that results in a fluid-filled sac near the joints. It can be caused due to many reasons, such as overuse, prolonged posture, or inflammatory conditions. 

Symptoms are considerably similar in bursitis and arthritis. However, treatment of both is provided according to the condition of the patient, but bursitis is curable. 

Bursitis, sometimes, goes away in a few weeks on its own. But, it may require medications if the condition worsens. 

As for the symptoms, bursitis can cause inflammation in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, and big toes.

However, it can happen in other parts of the body also. But, the general location of the pain is mentioned above. 

The inflammation is accompanied by pain and aching in the joints. Also, stiffness, swelling, and redness along with these can be experienced.

Besides,  putting pain around the joint while pressure on it can be experienced. Moreover, bursitis is not chronic.

So it can be cured within a few weeks with proper treatment. However, if left untreated, it can be sustained or cause other problems. And there are no other symptoms of bursitis. 

Many situations can increase the risk of bursitis, such as pressure on other parts due to kneeling, repetitive motions, and advancing age. 

Main Differences between Arthritis and Bursitis

Pain in the joints can be caused by arthritis or bursitis. However, it is very hard to tell them apart as they are very similar to each other.

They share common symptoms as well come along with each other. People tend to misunderstand the symptoms. Thus it is advised to get it checked by a doctor. But, they are different from each other. 

  1. Arthritis causes inflammation in the bone and cartilage of the joints, while bursitis causes inflammation in the bursae. 
  2. Arthritis gets worsens with time, while bursitis recovers within a few weeks. 
  3. Arthritis affects the hands, hips, knees, wrists, shoulders, and can also occur in other parts of the body. Meanwhile, bursitis affects the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, big toes, and also other parts. 
  4. Stiffness, swelling, and warmth around the joint can be seen in arthritis. Meanwhile, Stiffness, swelling, and redness around the joint can be seen in bursitis. 
  5. Tenderness is accompanied when joints are touched in arthritis. Meanwhile, pain is accompanied when pressure is applied to the joints. 
Difference Between Arthritis and Bursitis

Conclusion 

Arthritis or bursitis can cause pain in the joints. However, because they are so similar, it is quite difficult to tell them apart. They have similar symptoms and are often found together.

People often misinterpret symptoms, so it’s best to have them checked out by a doctor. They are, nonetheless, distinct from one another.

Arthritis is a condition in which the bone and cartilage of the joints become inflamed. Although there are two forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it worsens over time.

It affects the hands, hips, knees, wrists, and shoulders, as well as other body regions. In terms of symptoms, arthritis causes stiffness, edema, and warmth surrounding the joint.

Tenderness is also present when the joints are touched in arthritis.

The inflammation of the bursae is known as bursitis. It does, however, heal on its own after a few weeks. Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, heels, big toes, and other areas are all affected.

In terms of symptoms, arthritis causes stiffness, swelling, and redness. Additionally, when pressure is applied to the joints, discomfort occurs.

References 

  1. https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-020-02359-w
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03009740510026805
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