Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

and Other Forms of Inflammatory Arthritis

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Duke’s arthritis experts offer aggressive care for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory forms of arthritis. Our experienced rheumatologists and immunologists collaborate with other Duke specialists to manage your painful, stiff joints and help you return to the activities you enjoy.

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Comprehensive Care for Rheumatoid Arthritis

As one of the nation’s top-ranked rheumatology programs, we offer complete evaluation and the latest treatments for all types of inflammatory arthritis -- including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. These types of arthritis are different from osteoarthritis, which results from age, trauma, and/or overuse of your joints. You’ll find the right treatments for osteoarthritis on the knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and hand-and-wrist pages.

Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the joints in the body. Our doctors are also scientists who are committed to better understanding the causes of debilitating inflammatory arthritis. They constantly evaluate new medications that may be available to you through clinical trials. We strive to restore your quality of life using the best therapies available.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.



This disease-modifying antirheumatic drug is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic conditions. It relieves your symptoms and slows disease progression. Your doctor will monitor you closely while you are on this medication.

Biologic Agents

Also known as biologic response modifiers, the medications in this group target specific areas in the immune system to reduce the inflammatory effects of rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs require close management by your doctor.

Physical Therapy

Workouts may include aquatic exercise, biking, walking, or stretching to relieve pain and preserve mobility.


If your rheumatoid arthritis has led to severe damage to your joints, your doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss joint replacement surgery in your knee, hip, ankle, shoulder or elbow.

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We strive to diagnose your condition at its earliest stage to ensure the best outcome. Along with a review of your medical history and a comprehensive physical exam, your evaluation may include:

Blood Tests

Your doctor may order blood tests to check for anemia and rheumatoid factors such as antibodies or blood proteins. 

Imaging Tests

X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound scans may be used to confirm you have arthritis or to assess joint damage.

Best Hospital for Rheumatology in NC
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital’s rheumatology program is ranked among the very best in the U.S., and best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

The Best Care for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis Rehabilitation
Learn to manage your arthritis in group sessions led by physical therapists who guide you through exercises and aquatic activities designed to improve mobility, strength, and balance. We also provide educational sessions about arthritis and perform assessments to determine what types of assistive equipment -- including walking aids and other devices -- will help you perform everyday tasks and remain as independent as possible.

Leaders in Research
Our specialists are helping to identify the best treatments for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases through ongoing studies aimed at better understanding the causes of these disorders. You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that are testing new therapies before they become widely available. 

A Team Approach to Care
Our rheumatologists and immunologists collaborate with other Duke specialists -- including psychiatrists, orthopaedic surgeons, dermatologists, and lung experts -- to develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Your primary care doctor is a key member of this team. We strive to provide coordinated care to deliver the best results for you.

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