What doctor treats osteoarthritis?

Central Call Center: 301-942-7600

patients with pain and disorders of the joints, muscles, tendons and other connective tissue. Our practice has treatment centers in Wheaton, Rockville and Chevy Chase, Maryland, and in Northwest Washington, DC.

Treating the total person, not just the disease, is the underlying philosophy at ARA.To this end, physicians consider the social and emotional impact of a disease or condition and collaborate with patients and their families as they develop treatment plans.

Our practice integrates excellent medical care with comprehensive services. Each of our four offices has a full-service laboratory, x-ray facilities, DEXA, infusion center, and physical therapy department.This allows physicians to personally review and provide test results to patients in a timely manner. Certified medical assistants, physical therapists, nurses (including infusion nurses and our triage nurse team), x-ray technologists and front office staff, work with physicians to form the patient care team at ARA.Together they coordinate all diagnostic work and treatment.This gives patients the comfort of knowing there is always someone who can answer questions and provide assistance.We offer patients the opportunity to access the most recent and innovative technologies such as musculoskeletal ultrasound to assist in diagnosis and treatment and by maintaining an active clinical research program that participates in national trials to evaluate new medications for the treatment of arthritis, osteoporosis and a variety of rheumatic diseases.

The complex and changeable nature of many rheumatic diseases often requires ongoing assessment and evaluation. Patients benefit from the collective expertise of ARA physicians who meet frequently to discuss patient cases, new drug treatment protocols and promising research. In addition, based on the requirements of your treatment plan, our rheumatologists coordinate your care with the other professionals comprising your healthcare team.The physicians at ARA encourage the formation of close physician/patient and family relationships as they monitor conditions and modify treatment. Our goal is to reduce pain and maximize function.

At Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates, PC, we take pride in delivering exceptional care with the courtesy and respect you should expect.We know there are choices in selecting a physician or healthcare service and look forward to being your choice.

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Affects the Joints Connecting to Bones and is Referred to as “Wear-and-Tear” Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition affecting the natural cushioning, or cartilage, between joints.

Osteoarthritis Facts & Information

Commonly found in older patients, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease with no cure. This progressively painful disease can affect any joint in the body but is shows up mostly in your hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips.
If you, a friend, or a loved one is seeking relief from pain caused by osteoarthritis, you’ve come to the right place. Review the information below and schedule an appointment today to meet with one of our pain doctors in your area. Osteoarthritis will only worsen over time – find a non-surgical treatment that’s right for you today.

How & Why Does Osteoarthritis Develop?

Osteoarthritis will occur from either inflammation or injury. This damages cartilage tissue within the joint and will cause swelling, deformity, and pain. Cartilage covers the bones and protects them when rubbing against each other. It is a firm, rubber-like material and is made up of primarily proteins and water. The cartilage acts as a shock-absorbing surface. Osteoarthritis generally progresses slowly over the years from constant use. There are 2 types of osteoarthritis:

  1. Primary or the “wear and tear” osteoarthritis which generally affects the thumbs, fingers, spine, hips and knees
  2. Secondary osteoarthritis occurs after an injury or inflammation of the joint


For hip osteoarthritis specifically, the most common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficultly with going up and down stairs
  • Pain in the groin
  • Pain going into the thigh, buttocks, or knees
  • Sharp, aching pain often associated with stiffness

Patients who have difficulty getting out of bed, experience joint stiffness when sitting for long periods of time, have pain or swelling in the hip joint or feel “crunching” sensation of the bone or a sense of bone moving against bone may have osteoarthritis of the hip need to seek medical evaluation.


Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced physician. The type of pain that you may have with osteoarthritis can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately determining the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment.

  • Begins with a thorough clinical evaluation
  • Including a complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination
  • Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, etc.

Also called degenerative joint disease, this is the most common type of Arthritis, which occurs most often in older people. This disease affects cartilage, the tissue that cushions and protects the ends of bones in a joint. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to wear away over time. In extreme cases, the cartilage can completely wear away, leaving nothing to protect the bones in a joint, causing bone-on-bone contact. Bones may also bulge, or stick out at the end of a joint, called a bone spur.

Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and can limit a person’s normal range of motion (the ability to freely move and bend a joint). When severe, the joint may lose all movement, causing a person to become disabled. Disability most often happens when the disease affects the spine, Knees, and Hips.


Arthritic symptoms generally include swelling and pain or tenderness in one or more joints for more than two weeks, redness or heat in a joint, limitation of motion of joints, early morning stiffness, and skin changes, including rashes.

Doctors diagnose arthritis with a medical history, physical exam and x-rays of the Hip. There is no blood test for osteoarthritis.

Causes & risk factors

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing out of the cartilage covering the bone ends in a joint. This may be due to excessive strain over prolonged periods of time, or due to other joint diseases, injury or deformity. Primary osteoarthritis is commonly associated with ageing and general degeneration of joints.

Secondary osteoarthritis is generally the consequence of another disease or condition, such as repeated trauma or surgery to the affected joint, or abnormal joint structures from birth.

Management of Osteoarthriti

There are several treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help you ease your pain and symptoms.

  • Medications: Pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors and opioids may be prescribed. Topical medications such as ointments can be applied over the skin where there is pain. If the pain is very severe, corticosteroid injection can be given directly into the affected joint to ease the pain.
  • Other Treatments: Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength. Heat/cold therapy which involves applying heat or cold packs to the joints provides temporary pain relief. Lifestyle modifications can be done to control weight and avoid extra stress on the weight-bearing joints.
  • Surgery: Joint replacement surgery is considered as an option when the pain is so severe that it affects your ability to carry out normal activities.

Arthritis involves the inflammation of the joints, and can make completing normal, everyday tasks difficult. Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain and stiffness, making bending of the joints painful and challenging. This condition tends to worsen with age, and encompasses multiple types, which include:
• Osteoarthritis (most common)
• Rheumatoid arthritis (most common)
• Gout
• Psoriatic arthritis
• Lupus
• Septic arthritis
Treatments for arthritis vary depending on the type and each person’s circumstances. However, most arthritis doctors strive to provide treatment that lessens symptoms and increases quality of life, so every day activities aren’t as challenging.
Castle Connolly can give you access to a detailed list of the top arthritis doctors in areas near you so you can seek the best treatment method and get back to living your life. You deserve the highest quality healthcare. Find it today.
Doctors do not pay to appear on our lists. Through peer nomination, research, review and screening, we have comprised an extensive listing of the top arthritis doctors. Included in the profiles is helpful information about the doctor such as education, training and special expertise.

Find the Best Arthritis Doctors for You

Follow the below steps to find your doctor who specializes in arthritis treatment.
1. Enter zip code or city and state
2. Type in Arhritis in the Disease/Condition field
3. Click on the Search Now button
Use Castle Connolly’s advanced search option to conduct the most detailed search possible. This feature allows you to search by Name, Hospital, Area of Expertise and more-increasing the chances your search results will reveal the top arthritis doctors for you.
This is a free initial search that will give you access to 20-25% of the total 57,700+ list, nationwide. To access the full list of doctors with a focus in arthritis treatment, sign up as a Premium Member now.

Arthritis Doctor Background Checks

Arthritis is a debilitating health condition that impacts your quality of life. That’s why it’s understandable if you want every detail possible on your list of doctors. Castle Connolly can provide you with access to public medical board data, which displays the doctor’s disciplinary record.
Through these records, you can locate information in regards to a specific doctor’s disciplinary and behavioral record. When you access this background check for the best arthritis doctors, you will be provided with a listing of any official penalties. This listing will include information such as:

  • Intoxication,
  • Verbal harassment,
  • Improper advances, and
  • Other violations of the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Stop living in pain every day and get back to living your life happy and healthy. The right arthritis doctor can help make that happen. Start your search now.

    Arthritis Treatment Specialists

    • Physiatrists are doctors specializing in physical and rehabilitation medicine. Through the use of non-surgical treatments like exercise, medication, or steroid or trigger point injections, physiatrists help their patients to restore an adequate level of functioning and overcome physical limitations.
    • Orthopedic surgeons are trained in the surgical treatment of degenerative diseases of the joints. Surgery is usually considered only after conservative treatments have failed.
    • Other conservative therapies such as chiropractic, physical therapy, and occupational therapy are used to help patients maintain mobility and teach techniques for pain management.


    The best type of treatment for each patient is different, depending on the type of arthritis, severity and location of symptoms, and any underlying medical conditions that may interfere. There are often multiple healthcare professionals involved in any one patient’s arthritis treatment, and the focus is on reducing joint pain and inflammation, aiming to prevent further joint damage, and helping patients maintain an active lifestyle.

    Talk to Your Doctor About Osteoarthritis Pain

    You should prepare to talk with your doctor about your pain before your appointment. Making a list of things you want to talk about during the visit can help keep you on track.

    You’ll want to ask questions about your condition including:

    • Could something else be causing this pain?
    • What types of tests may I have to undergo?
    • What treatments might ease this pain?

    Other topics include whether there are alternatives to mainstream tests and treatments and where you can find more information about OA.

    Consider keeping notes about your pain for at least a few days prior to your visit. Things you should record include:

    • what time of day your knee hurts
    • when the pain first occurred and whether there is any history of an injury
    • under what circumstances the pain starts, what makes it better, and what makes it worse
    • what the pain feels like during each episode
    • where on or around your knee does it seems to hurt
    • how long the discomfort lasts
    • what, if anything, you do to treat it yourself, and how effective those treatments are

    You’ll also want to let your doctor know about the severity of your pain. When doctors question someone about the severity of their pain, they often use a 10-point scale. Milder pain is lower on the scale, and as pain worsens the number on the scale increases.

    Bringing a trusted friend or relative with you to the visit can also be helpful. Beyond the emotional value of having someone with you, this person can also remind you of points to raise or questions you may have forgotten. They can also help you remember important information provided by the doctor like medication names, dosages, and follow-up information.

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