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Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis (OA), also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis, a condition that causes cartilage to break down. Cartilage provides cushioning between your bones and allows your joints to move smoothly. As cartilage wears away, it causes pain and swelling and limits your range of motion. Over time, it can lead to broken bones and joint damage.

OA affects people of all ages, but it’s most common in people 65 and older. It can affect any joint, but most often it occurs in the neck, lower back, hips, knees, fingers, or toes. Symptoms usually come on slowly and get worse over time, including:

  • Joint pain or stiffness first thing in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Stiffness that goes away after movement
  • A clicking sound when you bend the joint
  • Joint swelling
  • Pain that gets worse after activity or at the end of the day

It’s important to get treatment for OA early to help maintain your range of motion, protect your joints, and prevent broken bones. Rheumatologists at University of Miami Health System are experienced in diagnosing and treating OA and using the latest approaches in arthritis care. With locations throughout South Florida, you can get expert care nearby.

It’s important to get treatment for OA early to help maintain your range of motion, protect your joints, and prevent broken bones. Rheumatologists at University of Miami Health System are experienced in diagnosing and treating OA and using the latest approaches in arthritis care. With locations throughout South Florida, you can get expert care nearby.

 

Why Choose UHealth?

The latest osteoarthritis treatments. In addition to treating patients, our rheumatologists conduct research to find better approaches for managing the disease. That means you receive care from specialists on the leading edge of arthritis care.

Expert diagnosis and personalized attention. 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.

Comprehensive care from a team of specialists. Our rheumatologists work with orthopedic specialists, physical and occupational therapists, pain management specialists, and other health care professionals to help you feel better — from personalized stretching, exercise, and weight-loss plans to the latest approaches in joint replacement surgery.

Questions? We're here to help.

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Treatments

  • Medicines

    Your doctor may use one or more medicines to treat osteoarthritis, including:

    • Analgesics: relieve pain, such as over-the-counter aspirin or prescription medicine such as tramadol
    • Corticosteroids: slow your body's immune response to relieve swelling and pain Hyaluronic acid: a naturally occurring substance in joint fluid that lubricates joints and provides cushioning
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): reduce swelling and relieve pain, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)

    Some of the medicines can be taken as a pill or applied as a cream, while others — like hyaluronic acid and some corticosteroids — are injected directly into the joint.

  • Physical and Occupational Therapies

    A physical therapist can show you exercises and stretches to keep your joints flexible. Physical and occupational therapists can also help you with assistive devices to make everyday activities easier, including canes, scooters, or walkers, as well as jar openers or long-handled devices, and other aids. Your therapist may also fit you with specialized braces or orthotics prescribed by your doctor.

  • Weight Loss

    Being overweight puts more stress on your hips, knees, and back, and can worsen joint pain. Your care team can help you maintain a healthy weight to prevent further damage to your joints and improve your overall health and well-being.

  • Surgery

    Your doctor may recommend joint replacement or another joint-restoring procedure for hips or knees that are severely damaged by osteoarthritis. Our orthopedic surgeons are skilled in the latest, least-invasive approaches to treat osteoarthritis pain and stiffness.


Tests

  • Imaging Exams

    Doctors use noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (tests that use magnetic energy and radio waves) and X-rays to look for early signs of osteoarthritis and cartilage damage.

  • Joint Aspiration

    This procedure, also called arthrocentesis, allows your doctor to examine joint fluid (synovial fluid) to discover the cause of the swelling. Your doctor uses a needle to withdraw the fluid, which is analyzed in the lab.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • CompCare (Comprehensive Behavioral Care)
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Global Health Claims Services
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana HUMx
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care