Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment in Burlington, VT

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, treatments are available to help reduce pain and inflammation. A physical therapy program may help you learn how to exercise and strengthen your joints without stressing them. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment options at Fletcher Allen include:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments and Lifestyle Modifications
  • Medications
  • Surgery, including:
    • Synovectomy
    • Joint Replacement
    • Tendon Repair
    • Fusing Bones

Non-Surgical Treatments and Lifestyle Modifications

The following can help patients manage their symptoms:

  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Assistive devices such as a splint, cane or special footwear
  • Relaxation
  • Heat and cold to ease the pain 


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Stronger anti-inflammatory agents called corticosteroids can provide temporary relief of pain and swelling, as well as slow joint damage. These drugs are injected directly into the joint. Immunosuppressants – medications that calm the immune system – also may be prescribed.

Surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis

If non-surgical methods aren’t effective, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair damaged joints. Surgery can reduce pain, correct deformities and enable you to use your joint. Rheumatoid arthritis surgery may involve the following:


With rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining may be clogged with inflammatory cells and debris that damages cartilage and bone. This procedure, called synovectomy, removes the joint lining or synovium.

Joint Replacement

Joint replacement removes damaged parts of the joint and replaces them with plastic and metal devices known as prostheses.

Tendon Repair

Tendons can become loose or torn as a result of inflammation and joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis. This procedure involves repairing the tendons around the joint.

Fusing Bones

Surgeons are able to permanently fuse the bones in a joint to increase stability and reduce pain. The fused joint can bear weight without pain, but does not have flexibility.

Learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-2663.