What is Difference Between Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel?

Here we will explain what is the difference between arthritis and the carpal tunnel. We will also clarify the correct way to refer to these conditions since the correct names are “Rheumatoid Arthritis” and “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”.

Difference between Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel


Definition of arthritis:

Arthritis is an inflammation of any joint in the body. Joints are areas of the body where two or more bones meet. A joint is complex and consists of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. Arthritis (inflamed joint) can be caused by different factors, including trauma. However, there is a chronic (long-term) disease called rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by the autoimmune system (the patient’s body is attacked by the body’s own defenses). Therefore, in this article, we will focus on rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that is usually called only “arthritis” which is incorrect.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:

The symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and the feeling that the joints are stiff. The condition worsens with age. The joints can swell and can be difficult to move. There may also be redness of the joint along with swelling present on the affected joint

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis:

The diagnosis can be made based on a physical exam, x-rays and blood tests. There are several different types of arthritis. X-rays can help determine the type of arthritis and blood tests can show the presence of rheumatoid factors. These are antibodies that are produced in rheumatoid arthritis.

Causes of rheumatoid arthritis:

There are many different causes of arthritis. For example, acute infectious arthritis is caused by an infectious agent such as bacteria. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the lining of the joints is broken, while osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage of the joints is broken. Osteoarthritis is more frequent due to aging or infection, while rheumatoid arthritis is often an autoimmune disease.

Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis:

Genetics can play a role in risk and, as you get older, you are more likely to have joint problems. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus also increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis:

Patients can take anti-inflammatory medications and steroids. Treatment may vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. People with osteoarthritis sometimes benefit from receiving an injection of hyaluronic acid. Prescribing medications to reduce the immune response can help people who have autoimmune problems that cause rheumatoid arthritis. Surgery may be necessary to repair damaged joints.


Definition of the carpal tunnel:

The carpal tunnel (also known as the carpal tunnel) is a tunnel-shaped region formed by the bones, tendons, and ligaments of the hand in the region of the wrist through which the median nerve passes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which pressure is placed on the median nerve that passes into the hand, causing pain and tingling or numbness in the hand. It should be noted that the “carpal tunnel” is a part of the anatomy of the hand and the condition is the “carpal tunnel syndrome.” Usually referred to as the “carpal tunnel” to the condition, which is incorrect.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling in the hand. A person can start releasing objects more frequently than normal since the hand feels weaker than normal.

Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome:

A doctor performs a physical exam. In addition, a study called “electromyography” (EMG) can be done to diagnose the condition. This test measures electrical muscle activity in the hand. A nerve conduction study can be performed in which nerve activity can be evaluated. In addition to these tests, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging can provide more information about the median nerve and soft tissues to guide treatment efforts.

Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Genetics and inheritance can play a role, and any wrist injury can cause the condition. Repetitive hand movement can also play a role, but there is no definitive evidence that it causes the condition.

Having certain diseases can increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel. For example, some conditions may increase your risks, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and pregnancy. If the person has an occupation in which he carries out repetitive use of the hand, this may possibly increase the chances of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel treatment:

A patient may wear a splint or brace at night while sleeping. The goal is to keep the wrist straight to stop the pressure on the nerve. Corticosteroids can be injected directly into the carpal tunnel region to relieve pain and patients can take anti-inflammatory medications. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce pressure on the nerve.


Characteristic Rheumatoid arthritis Carpal tunnel syndrome
Definition Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition in which the joints become inflamed. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which pressure is exerted on the median nerve at the level of the carpus (wrist region)
symptom Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include painful, red, swollen and stiff joints. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, numbness and tingling in the hand.
Diagnosis Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed with X-rays and blood tests Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed with studies of nerve conduction, electromyography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging
Causes Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by genetic factors, a joint injury or an autoimmune disease Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by genetics or a wrist injury. Possibly also caused by repetitive hand movement
Risk factor’s Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include joint surgery, genetics, autoimmune diseases, aging and obesity Risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include having rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy and possibly having certain occupations in which there is a repetitive use of the hand
Treatment Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis may include taking anti-inflammatory and steroid medications, receiving an injection of hyaluronic acid or taking medications to suppress the immune system. Sometimes surgery is needed Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid medications. Sometimes a splint may be used, and in severe cases, surgery for the carpal tunnel may be needed.

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