Differences Between Rheumatoid and Traumatic Arthritis



Arthritis occurs when one or multiple joints are inflamed because of a breakdown in cartilage.  There are multiple types of arthritis, including rheumatoid and traumatic, and treatment will vary depending on the individual case and condition. Conditions may be caused by wear-and-tear, infection, lupus, psoriasis, autoimmune disorder, injury, or uric acid crystals. Suffers may experience pain in their joints, stiffness, lack of functionality, and redness and a burning sensation in the area. Although many of the painful symptoms are similar, there are several differences between rheumatoid and traumatic arthritis.


Rheumatoid Arthritis


With rheumatoid arthritis, immune systems are to blame. Immune systems actually attack the individuals’ joint capsule, causing swelling and inflammation. The joint capsule is a sturdy membrane, but this disease can take its toll, destroying bone and cartilage of the joint. Cartilage is the stress-absorbing padding between bones. When damage occurs, synovial fluid and the padding deteriorate. This causes friction, because the bones end up rubbing against each other.


Rheumatoid arthritis breaks down healthy tissues, organs, and joints. It can occur in individuals who are young or old, and often affects symmetrical joints in feet and hands. For some reason, more women end up with this condition than men.


Traumatic Arthritis


Traumatic arthritis occurs because of some sort of injury or accident that has taken place. Another name for this condition is post-traumatic arthritis. Feet and ankles are the regions of the body most often affected, and it doesn’t always occur right away. In fact, sometimes traumatic arthritis develops many years after the sprain, ligament tear, or broken bone happened.


100 Types of Arthritis


In addition to these two types of arthritis, there are many other types. Some are chronic forms that last a lifetime, while others only last a few weeks. Osteoarthritis, gout, and fifth diseases are just a few of the many illnesses that fall into this family of diseases.


Diagnosis and Treatment


Individuals who suspect they may have a form of arthritis should schedule consultations with their physicians. Healthcare providers can diagnose the type of disease by performing a physical exam, taking a medical history survey, viewing x-rays/CT scans/MRIs. A CT scan generates computerized tomography and MRIs produce magnetic resonance images.


Once a diagnosis has been made, a doctor will be able to create a treatment plan appropriate to the condition. In the meantime, patients can take some steps in self-care.

  • Apply heat to the joint via hot baths, warm compress, or heating pad. Alternate with ice packs.
  • Rest the area until the discomfort subsides.
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Lose weight to reduce pressure.


Treatment options prescribed by a physician vary, but may include exercise, physical therapy, weight loss, the wearing of supportive braces and wraps, prescription medications such as corticosteroids and NSAIDs, and/or surgery.


No matter whether arthritis sufferers have rheumatoid, traumatic, or another form of the disease, there is help available. Individuals need to schedule an appointment with their health care provider, educate themselves about their condition, follow doctor’s and physical therapists’ instructions, and make recommended lifestyle changes. Although arthritis can be painful and challenging, there’s no reason to allow the condition to lessen quality of life.