Arthritis and Joint Inflammation

If you have arthritis or joint inflammation, you may be looking for answers that will restore the quality of the life you once had.

At the University of Michigan, we have treated hundreds of thousands of arthritis patients over decades and have restored them to a life of less pain and greater mobility. And we can do this for you.

Types of Arthritis

The most common types of arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.  Osteoarthritis can affect the knees, hips, spine, fingers and toes. It usually begins in an isolated joint. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Rheumatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body instead of intruders. The disease causes the tissues that line the joints to become inflamed. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the knees, ankles, feet, neck, elbows, wrists and hands, and often targets several areas. 
  • Gout – Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which causes joint inflammation. Gout can affect the knees, ankles and feet, but is most common in the big toe.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis - Begins after an injury that leads to the progression of degenerative (worsening) changes in a joint. The knee may have had a scope or cartilage procedure in the past. 
  • Psoriatic arthritis - a chronic (ongoing) disease that is characterized by a form of inflammation of the skin (psoriasis) and some of the joints (arthritis). The condition is pronounced si-or-RAT-tic
  • Septic arthritis - When there has been a previous infection that has destroyed the cartilage, septic arthritis can result. 

At the University of Michigan Health System, our experienced rheumatologists will do appropriate tests to determine which type of arthritis you have. Then we will develop an effective treatment plan and will explain your options. Our success in treating these types of arthritis – and more than 80 other types of arthritis that affect millions of Americans – result from our integrated, multidisciplinary approach to patient care. In treating your arthritis and joint inflammation, we will involve all of the areas of our team that are necessary to solve your particular problem and develop an individual treatment plan for you.

Non-surgical Treatments for Arthritis and Joint Inflammation

At the University of Michigan, we believe that surgery is rarely the first option. We look first at non-surgical treatments for arthritis and joint inflammation, such as lifestyle changes, anti-inflammatory medications, braces, walking aids and injections. Non-surgical treatment depends on the joint affected by arthritis. For instance, weight loss and strengthening exercises can help to stabilize a knee and decrease pain. Depending on the patient, arthritis in the ankle can be better tolerated with an ankle brace. For the hip, weight loss and using a cane on the opposite side could make a difference.

Surgery for Arthritis and Joint Inflammation

When treatment isn’t working, the damage is severe, or the pain affects your sleep and lifestyle, we may advise surgery. We give you surgical options based on the type of arthritis and the body part affected. As an academic medical center, we’re actively involved in top research, which means we are able to offer our patients a variety of surgical options, including computer-assisted surgery and less invasive surgery.

Surgery options for arthritis and joint inflammation include:

  • Arthroscopy – Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive approach of treating pre-arthritic problems inside the joint by making small incisions and using pencil-size instruments and a tiny camera to see and work inside the joint.
  • Joint replacement or partial joint replacement (also known as arthroplasty) – The most common total joint replacement is hip and knee, but arthroplasty is also used for the shoulder, elbow, ankle and knuckle. The University of Michigan is one of the few health care providers in southeast Michigan that offer total ankle joint replacement, and we are very experienced in this procedure. Partial joint replacements can be done on the part of the joint that is damaged, such as the knee, hip, hand or wrist.
  • Osteotomy – Osteotomy involves cutting and then aligning the bone to shift the weight away from the part of the joint that is wearing out. 

Our orthopaedic surgeons are nationally and internationally known for their expertise in replacing and repairing arthritic joints.

We are State-wide Experts in Joint Replacement

Because of our interest in quality improvement, we are founding members of the Michigan Arthroplasty Registry, a group of orthopaedic surgeons and medical professionals who want to improve the quality of care for patients undergoing hip, knee and shoulder replacement procedures in Michigan. The Coordinating Center for this Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan-funded project is also housed at the University of Michigan. 

Contact Us / Make an Appointment by calling

  • MedSport at 734-930-7400, or toll free 877-877-9333
  • Orthopaedics at 734-936-5780
  • Rheumatology Services at 888-229-3065

Selecting a health care provider is a very important decision. Because we are highly experienced in treating arthritis and joint inflammation, we would like to help you explore your options. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of clinics and their contact information. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about how we can help.

Michigan Medicine Comprehensive Hand Center

Our team of specialists at the Comprehensive Hand Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for a variety of hand problems. From arthritis injuries, to congenital hand conditions, to the most complex reconstruction, our hand specialists approach each case individually, with a specific plan designed to maximize the restoration of both form and function. Depending on the types of hand conditions our patients face, our physicians will help determine the best therapies or procedures to maximize hand functionality and normal hand appearances. Visit the Comprehensive Hand Center page to learn more about the program and to contact our hand specialists.