Skip to main content

Rheumatoid Arthritis

See our Patient Information Sheets and Videos!
We've put together information to answer your questions about RA.

Learn More

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune illness.  This means that your immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake. If not controlled, this process can lead to joint damage, deformity and loss of function.

Back to top

Our Approach

Early diagnosis and treatment are important. At UR Medicine, our experienced health care team provides diagnostic testing, education and physical activity programs, as well as the latest medicines, some of which may be delivered in our state-of-the-art infusion center. We will also help you coordinate the appointments you need for lab work, X-rays and other tests.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

One of our expert rheumatologists will make the diagnosis based on your symptoms and exam findings, as well as blood tests, X rays, and sometimes ultrasound, which can be performed right in our clinic.


There is no cure for RA. Treatment with medications can improve joint pain and swelling, and slow down joint damage. For some people, new treatments make it possible to control symptoms such that there is no sign of active disease. It is important to know that no single treatment works for all patients.  Many people with RA change their treatment at least once during their lifetime. 


  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs reduce or relieve pain and help reduce swelling in your joints so you feel better. Some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available over the counter.  Others require a prescription.
  • Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): These medications decrease inflammation and protect joints from permanent damage. DMARDS take several weeks to begin working.  Examples include hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate, and leflunomide.
  • Corticosteroids: These medications are often used early in the disease or to control “flares,” or sudden worsening of inflammation. While corticosteroids work quickly, they may have side effects if used for long periods. Prednisone is one of the commonly used corticosteroids.
  • Biologics: Biologics are medications that block proteins which cause inflammation and cause joint damage.  They can be used with a DMARD or alone.  Biologics cannot be taken orally. Examples include etanercept and infliximab.


For RA patients with joint damage that limits activity, surgery may be an option. Learn more about UR Medicine Orthopedic Surgeons.

Lifestyle Management

  • Healthy Eating: Food choices alone cannot treat symptoms. However, the right combination of different foods can help you feel your best overall and maintain a healthy weight. Foods rich in omega-3s and antioxidants may help control inflammation. UR Medicine nutritionists can help you develop a diet plan that works best for you. Learn about our UR Medicine Improve Nutrition Program.
  • Staying Active: Staying active is an important part of staying healthy. It will improve your energy, range of movement, and flexibility as well as increase bone strength and reduce morning stiffness.  People with RA can safely exercise with the proper program and we have prepared some informational materials to get you started.  UR Medicine physical therapists can also work with you to devise an exercise regimen that is best for you. Learn more about UR Medicine Physical Therapy.
  • Smoking Cessation: People who smoke have an increased risk for RA. Smoking makes symptoms for people with RA worse. At UR Medicine our team of physicians, nurse practitioners and lifestyle counselors can help you develop a plan to quit. Learn more about the UR Medicine Stop Smoking Program.

Back to top

What Sets Us Apart

At UR Medicine, our team is committed to providing you with the very best care possible—care that is centered around you and your needs, helping your symptoms and keeping you healthy. 

Onsite Infusion Center

Infusion Center at Lattimore RoadSome people with rheumatoid arthritis need medications that cannot be taken at home. Two of our rheumatology clinics (Lattimore Road in Rochester and Red Creek Drive in Henrietta) have an Infusion Center. An infusion center is a room in the clinic where patients can receive these medicines in comfort and with privacy. Nurses in the Infusion Center will also provide patients with support and education.

RA-CHAMP Program

For some of our RA patients and their families, it may be harder to find the care and caregivers you need to manage your illness effectively. The only one of its kind in the Rochester region, our RA-CHAMP Program helps you navigate and overcome some of the barriers you face every day. Identified patients will be contacted by one of our social workers, who will:

  • Help you find the care you need
  • Bring together and share information with your care providers
  • Help you understand the medicines you take and any unplanned symptoms (side-effects) they might cause
  • Provide educational programs that meet your needs

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

For some of our patients, musculoskeletal ultrasound can be instrumental in the diagnosis and evaluation of their arthritis. While a musculoskeletal ultrasound is similar to other ultrasounds in how it is done, our rheumatologists and technician have unique expertise in performing and interpreting images of joints and tendons.  In addition, we can perform this test onsite in our clinic.

Early Arthritis Clinic

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent damage to the joints and keep you active. The doctors in the Early Arthritis Clinic at our Red Creek location have the tools to determine what kind of arthritis you have.

Back to top

Our Providers


Back to top

UR Medicine Rheumatology Locations

Phone: (585) 486-0901
Fax: (585) 340-5399

Part of Strong Memorial Hospital
125 Lattimore Road, Suite G-110
Rochester, NY 14620
Get Directions

Part of Strong Memorial Hospital
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 240
Rochester, NY 14623
Get Directions

Part of FF Thompson Hospital
Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Get Directions

Back to top

Patient Education and Support

Our team has developed printable handouts and videos which answer many of the commonly asked questions about diagnosing, treating and living with RA. If you have concerns about RA or your treatment, talk to your doctor.

Back to top

Clinical Research

Our researchers are studying ways to improve treatment and quality of life of people with rheumatoid arthritis. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available.

To learn about participating in a clinical trial, see our Clinical Trials and Research Studies or contact us at

Back to top