Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated by Top Doctors at Mercy

The Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand Center at Mercy

At The Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand Center at Mercy, our doctors offer expertise in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Patients from the Baltimore region turn to Mercy's orthopedic surgeons for their skills in providing rheumatoid arthritis treatment options.

About the Condition

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease characterized by overgrowth of the joint lining, or synovium, leading to the destruction of the joint’s articular cartilage and bone. Eventually, rheumatoid arthritis causes joint deformity and shifting. Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects smaller joints first, such as fingers and toes, and then can develop in the hips, knees, ankles, elbows and shoulders.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include pain in the joints. Additional symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Tenderness and warmness in the joints
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Limited motion

Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are similar to other conditions. A physical exam is conducted to check for swelling and muscle strength. Blood tests may be performed to test for a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate), which shows if there is a development of an inflammatory process in the body. X-rays may be taken to track the deterioration of the joints.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment options are available to control inflammation and reduce pain. Treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Activity modification

For severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis, surgery may be the best treatment option. Surgical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can include the arthroscopic removal of the joint lining or a total joint replacement.