Treatment of Arthritis

There are a number of different treatments available for arthritis. Some common treatments for arthritis include:

Conservative (nonsurgical) treatments

  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune system’s inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain.
  • Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.
  • Self-care measures: Self-care measures such as exercise, weight management, and using assistive devices such as canes or splints can help to improve mobility and reduce pain.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help people with arthritis to perform daily activities more easily and safely.

Healthcare providers usually recommend surgery only for certain severe cases of arthritis. These are cases that haven’t improved with conservative treatments.

Surgical options include:

In severe cases of arthritis, surgery may be recommended to repair or replace damaged joints. Such options include:

  • Fusion: Two or more bones are permanently fused together. Fusion immobilizes a joint and reduces pain caused by movement.
  • Joint replacement: A damaged, arthritic joint gets replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement preserves joint function and movement. Examples include ankle replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement.