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Inflammatory Arthritis Center

Early Arthritis Initiative Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor if you suspect arthritis?

  • Joint pain for less than 3 to 6 months
  • Joint swelling or stiffness, particularly in the morning, for less than 3 to 6 months

Strong data shows that it is especially valuable for certain kinds of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, to be diagnosed and treated very early.

Why should I see the doctor for a few aches and pains?

The earlier you identify the cause of your pain, the better you’ll be able to fight the disease or find out what’s going on. This is particularly true of rheumatoid arthritis, where early identification and treatment can actually stop the disease from progressing further. If you have morning stiffness or swelling of joints, this is an especially important signal that early evaluation is critical.

Why did HSS start the Early Arthritis Initiative?

HSS has the largest rheumatology program in the United States. Many spend most of their time taking care of patients, and some spend almost all their time in research. The Early Arthritis Initiative reflects the collaboration between these two physician groups.

The latest research has shown the critical importance of early treatment of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory types of joint pain.

The Early Arthritis Initiative is also involved in many support and education programs, including programs for patients with early or recently diagnosed inflammatory arthritis and patients with more established rheumatoid arthritis, and a variety of research endeavors.