Rheumatologists are specialists in joint and muscle diseases, and several other inflammatory conditions. They should be distinguished from Orthopedists, who take care of joint and muscle injuries. Orthopedists are primarily surgeons. Rheumatologists are excellent at diagnosis, and treat with a variety of medications (including joint injections).
Some of the conditions that Rheumatologists diagnose and treat include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE; Lupus)
- Sjogren’s Syndrome (dry mouth & eyes, often with arthritis)
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica
- Temporal Arteritis
So a person with Rheumatoid Arthritis would see a Rheumatologist in order to prevent joint destructions and relieve pain. Over the years, if a major joint has been destroyed to such an extent that it no longer works, & is painful enough, an Orthopedist will operate to replace it (mainly hips & knees).