Specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the illnesses that cause swelling, stiffness, and pain of the joints and muscles, our team takes time to carefully explain your specific condition and the treatment options available. Whether it is an inflammatory condition or simply discomfort, our rheumatologists can help accurately reach the right diagnosis.

Here you'll find that our team takes time to carefully explain your specific condition and the treatment options available, including clinical trials. Since inflammatory diseases can often affect other areas of the body, we often coordinate treatment with other medical specialists. As part of Physicians' Clinic of Iowa, we are fortunate to be in the company of over 70 other medical and surgical specialists.

PCI rheumatologists are even listed on the national "Best Doctors" list, a distinction only about 5% of doctors practicing in the U.S. achieve.

*Referral from a primary care doctor required.

Rheumatology Treatment & Services

Joint Aspirations: A joint aspiration is a procedure used to either relieve joint swelling or to study the fluid around a joint to diagnose a disorder. Under local anesthetic, a needle and syringe are used to extract fluid from the space around a joint.

Rheumatic Diseases, Arthritic Conditions, Connective Tissue Disease, and Systemic Autoimmune Disorders, including:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease. The immune system attacks healthy cells causing painful swelling, mainly in the joints of the hands, wrists and knees. Usually, many joints are affected at the same time. The lining of the joint becomes inflamed, damaging the joint tissue. The tissue damage can cause chronic pain, unsteadiness and deformity. RA sometimes can affect other organs and tissues, including the lungs, heart and eyes.

Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, tendons and ligaments, and occurs in about 30 percent of people who also have been diagnosed with psoriasis. Symptoms can include fatigue, painful joints/tendons, swollen fingers and toes, reduced range of motion and redness and pain in the eyes.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis occurs when the body doesn’t make enough bone, loses too much bone or both. Bones become weak and could easily break from a fall. In serious cases, just sneezing or a minor bump can result in a fracture.

Lupus: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in any part of the body. Most commonly the skin, joints and internal organs are affected. Women are more frequently diagnosed with lupus than men.

Sjogren's Syndrome: Also an autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome causes dry eyes, dry mouth, profound fatigue, joint pain, organ dysfunction and sometimes central nervous system dysfunction. Patients have a higher risk of being diagnosed with lymphoma. About 90 percent of those diagnosed with Sjogren’s are women.

Scleroderma: Hardening of the skin is one symptom of scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects connective tissue. Scleroderma can be localized, which means it only affects a few places on the skin or muscles and rarely spreads or systematic, which means it can affect many parts of the body. Systematic scleroderma can involve the skin, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, other organs, blood vessels, muscles and joints.

Gout: Gout is another common form of inflammatory arthritis. It is very painful and usually affects the big toe. Gout flares can last days or weeks and are often followed by long periods of remission.

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine, causing inflammation of the vertebrae, leading to severe pain and discomfort. In advanced cases, the inflammation can cause ankylosis (new bone formation in the spine) and sections of the spine will fuse into an immobile position.

Vasculitis: An inflammation of the body’s blood vessels, vasculitis can affect all vessels from capillaries to the aorta. The blood vessels can become weakened and stretch in size when inflamed, causing aneurysms. Vessels can become thin and rupture, or become narrow to the point of closing off entirely.

Polymyositis: Polymyositis is an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle inflammation. The muscles start to break down and become weak. It can affect any muscles of the body, but it primarily affects those closest to the center of the body. It can cause trouble breathing, problems with swallowing and even irregular heart rhythm if the heart muscle is inflamed.

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, or arthritis commonly associated with wear and tear on the joints, is the most common form of arthritis. The cartilage within the joint begins to break down and the bone beneath begins to change, causing pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and swelling.

Dermatomyositis: Dermatomyositis causes both muscle inflammation and a skin problems. Symptoms can include a red or purple rash, red or purple swelling of the upper eyelids, red or purple spots on the elbows, knees, knuckles or toes, scaly dry skin that can lead to hair loss, muscle aches and weakness, hard lumps under the skin caused by calcium deposits, tiredness, fever and weight loss.

Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis - Irvin's Story

Hear from a real PCI patient: Irvin's RA symptoms were alarming - he was worried the pain and swelling would force him to give up the hobbies that he loves. Dr. Vijay Aluri, Physicians' Clinic of Iowa Rheumatologist, diagnosed Irvin with both RA and gout, and recommended treatment to quickly reduce joint inflammation. Within a month, Irvin's symptoms improved, and now he's back to doing what he loves most - learning to play the guitar and completing his model collection.

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