Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles.
Osteoarthritis may include:
- inflammation of the tissue around a joint
- damage to joint cartilage - this is the protective cushion on the ends of your bones which allows a joint to move smoothly
- bony spurs growing around the edge of a joint
- deterioration of ligaments (the tough bands that hold your joint together) and tendons (cords that attach muscles to bones).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling of the joints. The normal role of your body\'s immune system is to fight off infections to keep you healthy. In an autoimmune disease, your immune system starts attacking your own healthy tissues. In RA, the immune system targets the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and joint damage. RA usually affects smaller joints, such as the joints in the hands and feet. However larger joints such as the hips and knees can also be affected.