Online first

Acta Reumatológica Portuguesa - Online First: 2020-09-27

Are we overlooking osteoarthritis? – A comparative study of pain, function and quality of life in patiens with hand osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Almeida D, Costa E, Guimarães F, Azevedo S, Rodrigues J, Silva J, Faria D, Peixoto D, Teixeira F, Costa J, Afonso C, Neves J, Ribeiro A, Cerqueira M


Osteoarthritis (OA) is frequently regarded by patients and health care providers as a normal consequence of ageing and a minor condition. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a pathological condition that usually requires prolonged treatment and regular Rheumatology follow-up. Pain and physical limitations are hallmarks of both conditions and some previous studies suggest that OA and RA may have a similar burden for both groups of patients although those works usually do not take into account the inflammatory activity of RA. With this work, the authors compare levels of pain, physical disability and health-related quality of life in patients with primary hand osteoarthritis (hOA) and with RA – active disease (aRA) or in remission (rRA). The results show that hOA may have similar or even higher burden of pain than RA even with clinically relevant inflammatory activity in hand joints. Rather than suggesting that OA could be as severe as RA (or more or less severe), this brief study highlights OA as a cause of severe pain, which should lead us to try to achieve better symptom control for these patients and encourage rheumatologists to endeavor efforts to perform more studies in the field of OA.