What is it?

Polyarthritis is the medical term for having arthritis that affects five or more of your joints at the same time. You might see it referred to as polyarticular arthritis.

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Signs & symptoms

The most common symptoms of polyarthritis include:
* Joint pain.
* Stiffness.
* A feeling of heat or warmth.
* Discoloration.
* Swelling.
* A feeling of tenderness on or near a joint.

Diagnosis

The doctor will diagnose polyarthritis with a physical exam and tests. They’ll look at and feel your painful joints. They’ll ask you when you started feeling any symptoms and how intense they are. Your provider will also check your range of motion (how far you can move a joint).
The doctor will check you for other conditions that might cause your symptoms. This is called performing a differential diagnosis. This will help them rule out other issues before diagnosing polyarthritis. Some other symptoms and conditions they might check for include:
* Swollen lymph nodes.
* Sore throat (pharyngitis).
* Fibromyalgia.
* Hemochromatosis.
* Inflammatory bowel disease.
* Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Treatment

The doctor will tell you which treatments you need based on your specific symptoms. Polyarthritis is usually treated with:
* Medications: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs and acetaminophen can reduce symptoms like pain and inflammation.
* Physical therapy: Your provider or physical therapist will give you stretches and exercises to increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles near your affected joint.
* Injections: Some people need injections of corticosteroids or viscosupplementation directly into their joints.
* Arthroplasty: You might need joint replacement surgery. Your provider or surgeon will tell you what to expect and how long it will take to recover.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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