I also have extreme arthritis, including plastic joints and steel pins and have thrown pots for the past 16 years with it. My first advice to you is to learn to use SOFT clay. By using clay that is wetter, you take an amazing amount of stress off of your joints. In addition, the clay is more homogeneous when wetter without hard spots. The premixed, bagged commercial clay is way too dry for me and it must be wedged before using because it has hardened bands of platelets caused by the extrusion process. They are slight, but very noticeable, especially on larger pieces.
The best clay for me is recycled slop. I mix it in 5 gal buckets with a mixing bit in my drill. Let it stand for days so all of the lumps become saturated and it is at the same consistency. This is easiest if you let all of your scrap dry out completely, then add water to it. If you don't have large plaster slabs made up, pour the slop out in a thin layer on a swept concrete driveway on a warm day. Depending on temp and humidity, it dries to a nice consistency in a few hours to a day. Check it often and then scrape up with a 5 inch paint scraper and place in bags or a bin. You will find this clay works perfectly for arthritic joints! It is far better and more even in moisture than any store bought clay.
Also, I hope you are not wedging to get "air bubbles" out of clay. These are only a problem in the throwing process where they cause a bump every time the wheel makes a revolution. I pop them with a needle tool. Air pockets will not cause any problems in the kiln, provided the work is absolutely bone dry. Don't ever throw out slop! It is pure gold and only takes a little of your time to recycle. Nobody should be so busy that they can not come to know intimately the substance we work with daily. I also dig my own clay and have gotten to know it intimately, as all professional potters should. Hope this helps! There is a way for you to create. Overcome obstacles by creative thinking and arthritis will never master you.