Treatment for arthritis

This section contains information about the various forms of treatment for arthritis. Arthritis is a disease which becomes progressively worse over time so the emphasis is on ‘damage limitation’rather than a cure.

At present there is no cure for arthritis but medical science is developing new and innovative forms of treatment which slow down the rate of progression.

The concept behind these is easing pain and other symptoms, and, minimising the damage. This is done so that the sufferer can live a normal (or relatively) normal life and retain their independence.

Finding ways of relieving the symptoms of arthritis

Many visitors to this site are here to find out what treatment is available for their arthritis.

Does this apply to you?

If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout – three of the most common forms of arthritis then you are probably all too aware of how limiting this can be. The symptoms of these range from mild through to severe and in some cases, can result in a disability.

So your concern is preventing this from happening to you.

Treatment options are as follows:

  • Surgery for arthritis
  • Medication for arthritis
  • Diet for arthritis
  • Exercise for arthritis
  • Podiatry for arthritis
  • Physiotherapy for arthritis
  • Complimentary therapy for arthritis

Several of these also feature in our living with arthritis section.


Surgery is only performed when non-surgical or conventional treatment has failed. Most people with arthritis do not require surgery but it is recommended in situations where the joints are severely damaged by arthritis.

The most commonly performed surgery for arthritis is joint replacement.


This includes ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’(NSAID’s), cortisone injections, corticosteroids, painkillers, e.g. paracetamol and anti-rheumatic drugs.

In addition to these are a group of biological drugs called ‘anti-TNFs’which stop the actions of TNF (tumour necrosis factor). This chemical is a driving force in the development of pain, swelling and damage in joints.


This plays an important role in treatment. It is important to control your weight as carrying only a few extra pounds puts a strain on your joints which can worsen the symptoms.

Plus there are some foods which appear to lessen the symptoms of arthritis and a few others which aggravate it.


Your GP will recommend that you undertake exercise and on a regular basis. This will ease the pain and stiffness, keep the joints supple and strong and improve your range of movement.

Good forms of exercise are swimming and walking.


This refers to a branch of medicine which deals with the feet and foot related conditions. This is particularly important for anyone with arthritis as the ability to remain active is a vital part of their treatment.

There are special shoes and insoles which can help as will exercises for strengthening the muscles, tendons and joints of the feet.


This involves the use of massage and other activities to maintain flexibility and improve joint movement and strength. This may include hydrotherapy - exercise/movement in water which is a very effective form of treatment.

A physiotherapist will advise you about walking, posture and pain relief techniques, e.g. electrotherapy.

Complimentary therapy

These and alternative remedies such as acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy and meditation are often used by arthritis sufferers. They are not a cure but often help to relieve the symptoms.

But some of these therapies are more effective than others. Ask your GP for advice before using any of these.

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