It’s easy to get confused when it comes to talking about osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Although the two are completely different conditions, the simple fact that they both begin with “osteo” can lead us to believe that they are similar in nature. So, what factors help to distinguish between the two?

First off, the prefix “osteo” (which means bone) is essentially the only thing that the two have in common. Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become less dense and more likely to break. Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects the joints and surrounding tissues. Acting as a cushion between bone and joint is a rubbery tissue called cartilage. Over time, that cartilage can break down and cause pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint, resulting in an osteoarthritis diagnosis. A person can even have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis at the same time.

Some key things that set each apart are as follows:

Osteoporosis Osteoarthritis
·       Affects bone density ·       Affects joints and surrounding tissue
·       Sometimes known as the “silent disease, it can progress without symptoms until a broken bone occurs. ·       Produces pain, stiffness, and reduced movements of joints affecting overall quality of life.
·       Treatment includes lifestyle changes and typically the use of prescription medications. Adequate calcium and Vitamin D intake are also essential. ·       Treatment varies from exercise, hot and cold treatments, medications, and in some instances, even surgery.

Being aware of the facts in the first step. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage their osteoarthritis symptoms, a research study may be an option. Local studies are enrolling now. Study participants are seen by board-certified physicians and are compensated for their time and travel expense.

Browse & Apply for Clinical Trials »