Rheumatology is often confused with Orthopaedics. Often, a patient with joint pain sees an Orthopaedic doctor instead of a Rheumatologist. What is the difference?
A Rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in arthritis and bone and joint diseases. Rheumatologists prescribe medication to control inflammation and pain, and monitor the patient closely. Over 100 types of arthritis including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Lupus, Gout, Scleroderma, Back pain, osteoporosis, etc. are treated by Rheumatologists. The rheumatologist may give joint injections, order blood tests, or refer you to a surgeon or physical therapist – as appropriate.
An Orthopedic Doctor is someone a patient may consult to have major or minor operations or surgeries on their bones and joints – like joint replacements of hips, knees, shoulders; disc or back surgeries; tendon repairs or arthroscopies. Besides surgery, the Orthopedist may give you joint injections or refer you to a Rheumatologist or Physical Therapist.