What Is The Difference Between Arthritis And Bursitis
Written by Brian B

What Is The Difference Between Arthritis And Bursitis

What Is The Difference Between Arthritis And Bursitis

If you are searching for “what is the difference between arthritis and bursitis“, this article should help!

What Is Arthritis

Arthritis actually encompasses more than 100 diseases. The main symptom found in arthritis is joint pain, causing inflammation in multiple joints in the body. This will result in stiffness, pain, swelling and a limited range of motion. If left untreated, arthritis will get more severe over time.

Here are two different types of arthritis:


One of the most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis is generally found in adults over the age of 65. Due to its prevalence in seniors, this is known as the “wear and tear” disease. It is most often found in knees, hips and hands. OA causes pain, swelling and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This autoimmune disease attacks healthy cells in the body. Usually, RA attacks multiple joints at the same time. Hands, wrists and knees are the most commonly affected areas. RA can cause joint damage, leading to limited range of motion, deformity and chronic pain. Additionally, RA can impact the lungs, heart and eyes.

What Is Bursitis

Bursitis is the inflammation of bursae, which are fluid-filled scars found near the joints. The bursae is there to cushion bones, muscles and tendons, leading to reduced inflammation and joint friction. Overuse, previous inflammatory conditions and prolonged postures can lead to inflammation.

An individual’s risk of bursitis will undoubtedly increase as they age. Repetitive motion or consistent pressure on certain joints will increase the risk of bursitis. Pressure on a specific part of the body, such as kneeling, can cause bursitis. Sometimes a sudden infection or injury can lead to bursitis.

These activities have been linked to bursitis:

  • Gardening
  • Shoveling
  • Sports
  • Bad Posture
  • Carpentry
  • Musculoskeletal Structural Issues

Similarities Between Arthritis And Bursitis

Despite the differences, arthritis and bursitis are similar in many ways. The two conditions will affect bodies in the same locations. This makes it difficult to distinguish between the two conditions at times.

Similar causes include: pain, aching, swelling, tender to touch and redness.

Both will affect these areas: knees, wrists, hips and shoulders.

Differences Between Arthritis And Bursitis

The biggest difference in the two is exactly where the inflammation is occurring. Arthritis occurs in the joint, while bursitis happens in the bursae. How long the symptoms will last is another difference between the conditions.

Biggest differences include: location of the inflammation, onset and length of symptoms.

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