Types and Treatments for Arthritis

Self-Help and Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that affects your joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting about fifty million individuals. There are many types of arthritis, each presenting different symptoms, and the common ones include pain, redness, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness. Arthritis causes degeneration of your joints which can lead to pain and inflammation. There are many treatment techniques for arthritis, but your doctor, Scott Ellsworth, MD, will attend to your case depending on your symptoms. Feet, hands, hips, knees, and lower back are the common body parts affected by arthritis.


There are over one hundred types of arthritis, but the common ones include:

Osteoarthritis: This is the most common form of arthritis. It wears off the cartilage on the ends of your bones. Destruction of cartilages makes bones rub against each other, and you can experience pain in your fingers, hips, or knees. Osteoarthritis mostly happens as you age.

Juvenile arthritis: This form of arthritis affects children aged sixteen years or younger. Juvenile arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks tissue around your joints.

Gout: This arthritis causes hard uric acid crystals to form in the joints causing inflammation and severe pain. Gout mainly affects your big toe, knee, or wrist joints.

Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis is a joint inflammation that occurs when you have psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin irritation.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes your immune system to attack synovial membranes in your joints, leading to joint swelling. The inflammation spreads to neighboring tissues and can damage cartilage and bones. It can affect any part of your body, mainly the hands, wrists, and knees.


Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation. Biologics can be used for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis to target your immune system’s inflammatory response. Analgesics such as acetaminophen can help manage pain but do not reduce inflammation. Steroids like prednisone can reduce inflammation but use for brief periods as they can cause complications.

Physical therapy: Your doctor can recommend specific physical exercises that help to improve motion, muscle strength, and overall mobility. Your therapist can also help you adjust some daily activities to reduce arthritic pain.

Therapeutic injections: Cortisone injections can temporarily relieve joint pain and inflammation. Your doctor can use viscosupplementation in joints like the knee to improve your arthritis. Viscosupplementation involves injecting lubricant into the affected joints to help them move smoothly.

Surgery: If your arthritis does not improve after other treatments, your doctor can recommend surgery. The surgery can involve:

  • Fusion: Your surgeon can permanently fuse two or more bones. Fusion immobilizes the affected joint and minimizes pain caused by movement.
  • Joint replacement: The damaged arthritic joint will be replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement improves joint function and movement. This surgery can involve the ankle, hip, knee, or shoulder joints.

However, there is no cure for arthritis, but the treatment options help reduce symptoms and prevent complications. Schedule an appointment at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance for arthritis treatment to improve your quality of life.