Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis: A Comparison


Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two painful conditions that are often confused with one another. The similarities between the two explain why these are confused with each other. However, the two conditions have entirely different causes.

Let us see a comparison of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis to know more about both.


Known as a silent disease, osteoporosis is the condition where bones lose their density and become more prone to fracture. It affects a large part of the global population. In people with osteoporosis, the loss of bone tissue reduces bone density and could result in fractures, severe back pain, loss of height, and impairment in the ability to walk.

The bone mineral test is usually conducted to diagnose osteoporosis.

The condition is associated with several risk factors including:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Small frame
  • Low intake of calcium
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Taking certain medications for long-term

Until it results in a fracture, osteoporosis is painless and that is one reason it goes often undetected.

Osteoporosis treatment includes medication, weight-bearing exercise, and measures to ensure there is enough intake of calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing exercises help make bones stronger. Medication is required only if your osteoporosis has progressed to serious stages.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that causes severe pain. The condition often involves the joints of the knee, lower back, neck, and hands. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of articular cartilage on the ends of bones.

Until the condition becomes severe enough to cause symptoms, OA remains painless. The condition is more prevalent in the joints close to the fingernail and toe bed, as well as the middle joints of the thumb and hand. It also affects the spine, hip, and knee. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis does not cause any issues in the knuckles of the hand. The level of inflammation in osteoarthritis is lesser when compared to rheumatoid arthritis.

As of now, there is no cure for osteoarthritis and all available medications are taken to control the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Doing suitable home exercises help build strength around a joint and reduces the stress on the joints.

Early diagnosis is the key to handling osteoporosis and osteoarthritis better. Both conditions often go undetected in the early stages as pain symptoms hardly manifest at the initial stages.