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What is the Arthritis Program?

Arthritis is an umbrella term for many illnesses that cause painful joints. Because an arthritis diagnosis is so complex, one specialty may not be enough to fully treat it. Summit Health’s arthritis program provides an integrated approach to treating this group of conditions.

At Summit Health, we take a team approach to treating arthritis. When you come to us for arthritis therapy, you’ll be able to leverage our entire network of experts, both within the orthopedics department and in the group as a whole.

Orthopedics Department Specialties

Foot and Ankle

Each foot has 33 joints, any of which can be affected with forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Experts in this subspecialty can help you modify your lifestyle and provide treatment options if arthritis affects your foot or ankle.

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General Orthopedics

The two joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis–the most common form of arthritis–are the weight-bearing joints of the knee and the hip. Our general orthopedics surgeons are experts at treating the hips, knees and any other joint for osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis.

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Hand and Wrist

When arthritis invades the hand or wrist, it can be crippling. Our hand and wrist specialists can help you manage complications arising from arthritis, such as a weak grip, swollen fingers and nodules under the skin.

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Shoulder and Elbow

These complex joints are at risk for a number of forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and, in the case of the shoulder, rotator cuff arthropathy and avascular necrosis. Our experts are up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques for shoulder and elbow arthritis.

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Vertebrae in the spine are connected by facet joints. When these become arthritic, pain and potentially even disability can result. Consult with one of our spine specialists to learn your options for treating and managing arthritis of the spine.

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Hip and Knee Replacement

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis are three of the most common reasons someone might need a total replacement of the hip or knee. Sometimes arthritis can affect a joint so badly that the best course of action may be to replace damaged cartilage and bone with artificial materials. Our specialists in this department have performed hundreds of total joint replacements for a wide variety of reasons, including a number of forms of arthritis.

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Other Summit Health Departments

In addition, our specialists in the orthopedics department work hand-in-hand with experts from these Summit Health specialties to provide you with a complete continuum of care.

  • Acupuncture: Clinical research supports acupuncture as a safe, effective and cost-efficient treatment for arthritis.
  • Family Medicine: Your primary care physician (PCP) may be the first medical professional to suspect you have arthritis. The Orthopedics department will coordinate care with your PCP in order to inform treatment for both specialties.
  • Hand Therapy: After living with degenerative arthritis of the hand or having hand surgery necessitated by arthritis, you may need rehabilitation of the hand or wrist. Summit Health’s Hand Therapy department can help restore range of motion, improve hand function and keep your hands safe from injury in the future.
  • Nutrition Services: Diet can have a big effect—positive or negative—on arthritis symptoms. Losing weight can help alleviate pain from arthritis, while certain foods can increase inflammation. Summit Health’s nutrition services department can help teach you what and what not to eat, and why.
  • Physiatry: Physiatrists treat conditions of the muscles, bones, joints and nerves, including forms of arthritis. Summit Health’s Physiatry department can help develop rehabilitation plans and offer lifestyle recommendations and treatments to improve your quality of life when you’re dealing with arthritis symptoms.
  • Rheumatology: Rheumatologists treat painful musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis. Our orthopedics and rheumatology departments work closely together to manage our patients’ arthritis.
  • Urgent Care: Some forms of arthritis increase the risk of falls and fractures. For these types of arthritis, it’s best to start treatment as quickly as possible after a diagnosis to prevent permanent damage. When a quick response is necessary, you have access to Summit Health’s Urgent Care department.