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Joint Pain, Swelling, and Stiffness


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Joints form the connection between bones, such as at your shoulders, hips, knees, and toes. When you have pain and swelling in a joint, it can make even the simplest movements uncomfortable. Knee pain is the most common type of joint pain, but it can affect any joint in your body.

Joint pain and swelling is called arthritis, which refers to a group of conditions rather than a single disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions — from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis to gout, ankylosing spondylitis, and more. In addition, autoimmune diseases — such as lupus  — can cause joint pain and stiffness.

There are different types of arthritis, including:

  • Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis): wearing away of cartilage (cushioning between bones) causes bones to rub against each other
  • Infectious arthritis: a virus or fungus, such as salmonella or hepatitis C, enters the joint and causes swelling 
  • Inflammatory arthritis: develops due to a malfunction in the immune system that causes uncontrolled swelling (autoimmune disease), as in rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis
  • Metabolic arthritis (gout): formation of uric acid crystals in a joint

If joint pain makes everyday activities difficult or it’s preventing you from doing what you want to do, we can help. Rheumatologists at University of Miami Health System specialize in treating all types arthritis and conditions that affect your joints. We offer the latest therapies to relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness, and help you get back to doing the things you love.


Immunosuppressive Medicines 
Doctors use a range of medicines to stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissues, including:

  • Corticosteroids: slow the body's immune response to relieve swelling and pain
  • Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): suppress the immune system broadly to prevent swelling
  • Genetically Engineered Biologics: a newer type of DMARD that targets specific immune functions

Some of the medicines can be taken orally, but others are given as an injection. Doctors may use ultrasound-guided injections to deliver pain medication, which allows them to locate the area that’s causing pain and guide the injection of medicine directly to the source.

Physical Therapy
Physical therapy strengthens the muscles and ligaments around the joint to improve your range of motion. Physical therapists design stretching and exercise programs and use ultrasound therapy (sound waves), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), hot or cold therapy, and other approaches to help you move more easily, without pain.

Why Choose UHealth?

Specialized treatment to improve your quality of life. Our rheumatologists are experienced at identifying the cause of joint pain and helping you feel better fast. We develop a customized treatment plan that matches your lifestyle and is designed around what’s important to you. 

The latest treatments for arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. In addition to treating patients, our rheumatologists conduct research to find better approaches for treating joint pain. That means you receive care from specialists on the leading edge of arthritis care.

Comprehensive care from a team of specialists. Our rheumatologists work with orthopedic specialists, physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors), physical therapists, and other specialists to help you feel better — from personalized stretching and exercise plans to a wide range of noninvasive and minimally invasive pain management approaches.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.