Arthritis is a painful condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. It develops because of injuries, wear and tear or inflammatory diseases.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis can be distressing and disabling, and more than three-quarters of people affected say that it stops them living life to the full.
Many people with arthritis feel that their pain and joint stiffness isn’t taken seriously by medical professionals.
If your arthritis is limiting your ability to work, play, or rest, The London Clinic can provide expert arthritis treatment.
Our world-leading team of rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists can provide relief for the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
The London Clinic offers an all-inclusive package for the assessment, monitoring, and treatment of arthritis.
The highly-skilled multi-disciplinary team provides the latest investigations, cutting-edge therapies, and sensitive support to help reduce your pain and restore your quality of life.
What causes arthritis?
There are more than a hundred different types of arthritis. However, the most common cause is wear and tear in the joints, known as osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the joints degenerating. It's more common as we get older when the joints have spent a lifetime supporting the weight of the body and allowing us to move.
In osteoarthritis, there is progressive damage to the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones.
Over time, this cartilage becomes ragged and uneven, the space between the bones narrows, and bone can rub against bone.
Movement becomes painful, and lumps can develop on the surface of the bones.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness, and although any joint can be affected, the knees, hips, and hands are more at risk.
There may be joint swelling and soreness. However, the joints shouldn't appear red or feel hot.
Inflammatory diseases also cause arthritis. The most common of these is rheumatoid arthritis. However, many other conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus, can also cause joint pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints and the rest of the body.
Around 1% of the population in the UK has rheumatoid arthritis; it's more likely to affect women, especially between the ages of 30 and 40.
Symptoms come and go, often with severe flare-ups. Rheumatoid causes severe joint pain and swelling.
The joints are often red, hot, and tender, and you may feel weak and generally unwell.
What treatments are available for arthritis?
The London Clinic offers expert assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for all forms of arthritis. Early diagnosis and effective treatment can manage pain, reduce joint damage, and prevent deterioration.
Your consultant will take a careful medical history and examine you to assess the physical, emotional, and practical impacts of your arthritis.
The specialist may arrange investigations to check your joints and look for evidence of inflammatory conditions.
They will then create a bespoke treatment programme to reduce inflammation, ease pain and stiffness, and improve your movement, health, and wellbeing.
Arthritis care at The London Clinic includes support through diagnosis, treatment, and long-term planning.
The experienced team will help you deal with the physical and psychological impacts of the condition.
Treatment can include:
Lifestyle advice and support
Weight management and guidance on modifying activity and avoiding pain triggers can help reduce the stress on your joints.
The specialist physiotherapists can tailor an exercise programme to stretch and strengthen your muscles and increase joint movement and flexibility.
Our state-of-the-art physiotherapy suite, including a gym, hydrotherapy pool, and AlterG anti-gravity treadmill supports controlled mobilisation with reduced joint pressure and pain.
Injections can target treatment directly into the source of pain. The specialist can inject a combination of local anaesthetic and steroid medication into the joint to decrease inflammation and ease pain.
Medication can reduce inflammation and prevent joint damage in people with inflammatory arthritis.
The rheumatologists at The London Clinic closely follow the latest evidence-based research and offer ground-breaking treatments at an early stage.
Medical management provided includes:
Anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)
These medications, including methotrexate and azathioprine, reduce over-activity of the immune system to control pain, swelling, and stiffness. They can prevent joint damage. However, they will need monitoring to avoid complications.
Biologic and biosimilar treatments
Biologic medicines such as etanercept and infliximab are made from proteins and other chemicals naturally produced by the body.
They have revolutionised the treatment of inflammatory conditions by preventing activation of the immune response. They are hospital treatments given as a drip or injection.
JAK inhibitors are innovative new medicines for adults with rheumatoid arthritis. They include tofacitinib and baricitinib and are tablets taken once or twice a day.
Steroid medication can also be injected or taken orally for a short time to control a severe flare-up.
If conservative treatments have not relieved pain, the expert orthopaedic surgeons at The London Clinic can perform a range of operative procedures to treat symptoms and restore joint function.
Minimally invasive surgery to clean out a joint and remove inflamed tissue.
The surgeon can remove the damaged parts of the joint surfaces and replace them with a prosthetic device.
For some joints, the surgeon can excise the damaged joint surfaces and fuse the bones using rods, plates, screws, or a bone graft. This eases pain but can reduce flexibility. It can be effective for arthritis in the spine or ankle.
Our world-class surgeons are highly experienced at using hip arthroscopies to successfully diagnose and treat a range of hip joint problems. Find out more.