What Is The Difference Between A Rheumatologist Vs An Orthopedist
If youre experiencing joint pain, you want to know where to go to seek relief. Joint pain can be debilitating, making even the most ordinary everyday tasks unbearable, making it an urgent problem to get treated. But who is the best specialist to treat your joint pain: a rheumatologist or an orthopedist? While there is overlap between rheumatology and orthopedics specialists , its important to understand the core differences between these 2 specialties to make an informed decision about which provider would be best for you.
The main difference between rheumatology and orthopedics is that orthopedists are surgical specialists, whereas rheumatologists are medical specialists who use medication and other nonsurgical treatments. If youre unaware of which specialist would be best for your medical condition, its wise to seek the guidance of your primary care provider to guide you in the right direction.
How Arthritis Affects Joints
When you have arthritis, your cartilage and other joint structures start to break down. Normally, cartilage absorbs shock and protects the two bones that form a joint, allowing for smooth movement. In the absence of normal cartilage, the bones can rub together, causing damage, swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Depending on the severity and the area where the arthritis is located, people may experience chronic aching pain or even sharp, stabbing pain. In advanced cases, locking and catching also may be a problem. This occurs when the jagged ends of two bones come into contact and become momentarily stuck.
Your Pains Out Of Control
If you hurt so much that you canât do daily tasks, get through your workday, or sleep well at night, itâs time to see your doctor. If over-the-counter pain relievers and home remedies arenât working, you may need prescription medication to ease your pain. Your doctor can also inject a steroid into your joint to help with pain and swelling.
Osteoarthritis may get worse over time. Cartilage wears away, and the bones in your joint rub together when you move. At this stage, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon to see if you need a total joint replacement or other surgery.
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When Youre Ready To Exercise
When your joints are stiff and sore, the last thing you may want to do is move around. But exercise can ease your pain and make you more flexible.
But before you start a new exercise plan, itâs a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can make sure the activity is safe for your joints and overall health.
Your physical therapist can create an exercise plan to strengthen muscles around your weak joints and teach you stretches to make your joints more flexible. Check with them to make sure you donât overdo it. As you get used to your workout, you can pick up the pace or do it for longer.
Treat Your Knee Arthritis
In the most common type of knee arthritis, which is osteoarthritis, your knee cartilage erodes resulting in pain and inflammation due to bone-on-bone rubbing as you move your knee. Even though there is no specific technology that can put cartilage back in between your bones, there are certain treatment options that can provide relief to your pain and stiffness.
Your treatment options will depend on the progression of your knee arthritis, your overall health, and your preferences. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend an individual treatment or a combination of treatments that work together, such as physician-administered pain relief injections into the knee plus professional physical therapy.
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What Is The Best Doctor To See For Osteoarthritis
Rheumatologists Rheumatologists specialize in musculoskeletal diseases and autoimmune conditions. They treat all types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. If there’s a chance you have something other than osteoarthritis, you will be sent to a rheumatologist.
One Day I Was Fine And The Next Day My Muscles Started Hurting
Muscle pain can be caused from anything as simple as an injury, to a whole body illness. A blow to a muscle could cause local inflammation, or it could cause bleeding inside the muscle tissue. Chronic trauma to muscles, like long-distance running on concrete, can cause compartment syndrome, where loss of blood supply can lead to severe and permanent consequences to the injured limb. More generalized muscle pain can be caused by many different things, from simple dehydration and electrolyte imbalances to side effects of medications. However, much more serious illnesses such as liver disease, thyroid disease, Lyme disease and Dengue Fever can also be the cause. The benefits of seeing an orthopedic are early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of both the simple and the complex problem.
The Difference Between A Rheumatologist And An Orthopedist
When suffering from debilitating joint pain, it can be confusing for patients to know whether they should schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist or an orthopedist. Typically, unless you have experienced a trauma to the body that requires a surgical treatment, you will want to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist first. If caught early enough, a rheumatologist can use a variety of non-surgical treatment options, including medications, which can help with symptoms of inflammatory and systemic forms of arthritis.
Your rheumatologist will closely monitor your condition and its progression while you are on medication or trying other non-surgical treatments. If your symptoms continue to persist, you will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon to see if your condition would be best treated with surgery. Review the lists below to determine which specialist would best suit your needs.
Reasons To See An Orthopedic Doctor
You should consider seeing an orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing any type of pain in your hips, knees, feet, neck, shoulders, arms, or back. Symptoms that warrant a visit to an orthopedist include:
- Signs of infection, including inflammation, heat, fever or redness.
- Pain in tendons, joints or muscles that lasts more than a couple of days.
- Joint pain that intensifies during periods of rest.
- Joint deformity.
- Bruising or swelling around the location of an injury.
- Limited range of motion, such as an inability to straighten the back.
- Difficulty using your knees, hips, back, shoulder or ankles to perform daily functions like carrying grocery bags or walking up and down the stairs in your home.
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When To See An Orthopedist For Joint Pain
The primary symptoms of a joint injury or condition are pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of movement and range of motion. Some causes of joint pain like acute tendinitis or bursitis resolve within a few weeks with rest, ice and medications. Other causes of joint pain like arthritis are chronic and cause long-term pain and symptoms.
Its time to see an orthopedist for an evaluation if youre experiencing the following:
- Joint pain or symptoms that occur several times in a month, or consistently for several weeks
- Pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints
- Joint stiffness thats worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity
- Joints that are red, tender or warm to the touch
- Difficulty moving a joint as much as usual
- Pain that prevents you from performing normal daily activities
The symptoms listed above may be early warning signs of arthritis. Arthritis pain and symptoms progress over time, so its important that you see an orthopedist as soon as possible once symptoms begin. Early treatment and lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of the disease.
My Hands Are Killing Me Especially In The Morning
There are many kinds of inflammatory arthritis that can cause pain and permanent deformity in the joints of your body. This type of arthritis is caused by generalized inflammation of the body that may cause pain in one place, or multiple places. Rheumatoid arthritis is what is called symmetricalthe symptoms are the same on both sides of the body. The most common joints affected are the hands, wrists and feet. Lupus also causes generalized inflammation and joint pain, as well as other symptoms like fatigue, fever and dry eyes. Would you ever think a rash on your face has something to do with your aching hands? Yet, an orthopedic specialist would understand that these two seemingly unrelated symptoms suggest a lupus diagnosis. Psoriatic arthritis will also cause joint pain and swelling, even though most people think of psoriasis as a skin disease. Unfortunately, the longer these types of illnesses go untreated, the greater the chance of permanent deformity, chronic pain and even life-threatening complications will occur. The earlier you see an orthopedic doctor, the better your long-term outlook will be.
The Treatment For Knee Arthritis Is Determined By Its Severity
The two most common forms of knee arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, although other forms may affect your knees, as well. While there are many treatments available for arthritis, not every treatment is suitable for every patient. An orthopedic doctor treats arthritis based on its severity and how it impacts your life.
When Should I Seek Help
Arthritic pain that may require attention from a surgeon often comes on slowly over a period of years and may be described as an achiness in the joint area. That pain is especially triggered after prolonged activity. Pain also can arise from fractures, which are usually sustained during a fall or other traumatic event. Ligament or tendon injuries, as well as avascular necrosis also can be sources of a sudden onset of pain.
Whether your pain has intensified over a period of years or days, those having difficulty walking or performing their everyday activities should consider an evaluation with an orthopedic surgeon. A conversation with a surgeon particularly one who specializes in the injured area may be helpful for figuring out the best treatment plan for improving your quality of life.
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Risk Factors For Arthritis In The Hip
Risk factors for hip osteoarthritis
- Age typically osteoarthritis in the hip affects people over the age of 60.
- Weight people who are obese or overweight are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the hip due to the extra weight on the joints.
- Gender hip osteoarthritis affects women more commonly than men.
- Joint injury injuries that impact the hip bone can lead to arthritis later in life.
Risk factors for inflammatory hip arthritis
- Age people between 40 and 60
- Gender women are more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis
- Environmental exposures such as asbestos and silicone
What Can An Orthopedic Doctor Do For Knee Arthritis
From walking to running and bending over to pick something up from the ground, your knees help you stay mobile all day while bearing your weight. However, knee pain and inflammation from arthritis can limit your mobility and greatly interfere with your quality of life.
Of over 100 types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis by far. A knee injury can put you at risk of developing knee arthritis, but wear-and-tear over time is usually the culprit.
Fortunately, you do not have to live with knee arthritis forever an orthopedic doctor can help relieve your knee pain and improve your mobility. Lets talk about what an orthopedic doctor can do for your knee arthritis, and where you can go in Raleigh to see a Duke-trained orthopedist who can help you get back to your active life.
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How Does Knee Arthritis Start
Osteoarthritis can be caused by injury to a joint, or it can simply be the result of years of wear and tear. If you think about it, any time you do any weight-bearing activity , your knees are working and bearing the impact.
Your knee joint is where the bone of your upper leg meets with the bones of your lower leg and your kneecap. Bands called ligaments attach the bones to each other in the joint, and tendons attach the bones to the muscles that support the knee joint. Firm but flexible cartilage tissues act as shock absorbers, while the synovial fluid in the joint acts as a lubricant during flexing and bending.
All of this works wonderfully together as you go about the activities of life, so that you experience smooth and pain-free movement. However, over time, the repetition of movement and the stress of impact can cause the shock absorbers to become thin, the lubricant levels to run low, and the ends of the bones to become damaged or jagged. This is when you may begin to feel the pain of arthritis in your knees.
The key to preventing or eliminating pain is to find someone who can reverse these problems and repair or replace any damage. Your orthopedic surgeon has the specialized expertise necessary to treat your knee arthritis and get you moving again.
What Kind Of Doctor Do I See For Arthritis In My Hands
An orthopedic hand specialist is trained and knowledgeable in various treatments that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists. A hand specialist who is also a hand surgeon can perform surgical procedures that can help repair damaged joints and tendons in the hand due to arthritis.
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Learn About The Surgery
The decision to have surgery is a major one. It is not a decision to be made quickly or without good reasons. Before you decide to have surgery, be sure to learn what operation is being suggested, what are the alternatives, what are the risks and what is involved in the recovery process. Don’t be shy about asking lots of questions of your surgeon, including information on his or her success record with the particular procedure. As you consider whether or not to have surgery, keep in mind that every person’s needs are different. Your doctor may inform you that surgery won’t give you the results you want. If your doctor thinks that surgery can help you, there are still many things you need to know.
Treatments For Joint Pain
There are multiple treatments your orthopedist might prescribe for joint pain, depending on its cause. If your pain has a known cause, R.I.C.E. is the first line of treatment for an acute musculoskeletal injury. Afterward, your doctor might recommend a course of physical therapy to help rehabilitate your injured joint and regain strength and range of motion.
If your joint pain is caused by arthritis or another long-term condition, the goal of treatment will be to reduce pain, preserve joint strength and motion, and slow the progression of disease. Your orthopedic treatment plan might include:
If youre suffering from severe arthritis or a significant joint injury, you may need surgical treatment under the care of an orthopedic surgeon. There are several surgical options for arthritis treatment, including total joint replacement. If surgery is an option for you, your orthopedic surgeon will walk you through everything you need to know.
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Orthopedic Doctor In Ofallon Mo For Arthritis Treatment
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our experts have a wealth of experience treating knee arthritis of every kind. If you suffer from arthritis symptoms in your joints, we can help you find relief.
Book an appointment with Advanced Bone & Joint, serving OFallon and nearby areas, for a treatment plan for arthritis in your knees. Call us at 229-4222 to book an appointment, or simply request one online. We look forward to serving you soon!
When You Need To Lose Weight
Because osteoarthritis can make it hard for you to stay active, itâs easy to gain weight. Shedding even a few pounds can ease the strain on your joints.
If you need help to lose weight, talk to your doctor or nurse. They can suggest a diet plan and weight loss goal thatâs right for you. They can also refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist to create an eating plan for you, or a weight loss doctor if you need one. It takes time, but donât give up. Weight loss can do a lot to ease your OA symptoms.
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Knee Arthritis Treatment In Raleigh
If you do not want to let your knee pain rule your life any longer and you seek lasting treatment, visit our board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert will provide you individualized treatment with his extensive knowledge and years of experience in treating knee conditions, including knee arthritis.
To get outstanding medical treatment for your knee arthritis, call us today at or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back to enjoying an active, pain-free lifestyle!
What Can An Orthopedic Doctor Do For Arthritis
The most common kind of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between the joints starts to break down this causes pain, stiffness, swelling, limited range of motion, and clicking or cracking when the joint is engaged. Without treatment, these symptoms can worsen over time. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may be referred to an orthopedist. Here are some of the things an orthopedic doctor can treat the arthritic symptoms that impact your musculoskeletal system.
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