Rheumatology is a subspecialty of internal medicine that is devoted to the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of inflammatory diseases. Rheumatologists deal with heritable connective tissue disorders, vasculitis, and clinical problems of the joints and soft tissues. Many of these diseases are now known to be disorders of the immune system, and rheumatology is increasingly becoming the study of immunology.
Rheumatologists commonly treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, myositis, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, vasculitis, fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s syndrome, osteoporosis, as well as many other disorders. We also treat soft tissue rheumatic syndromes, such as tendinitis, trigger finger, enthesitis, and bursitis. Some diseases may require arthrocentesis, or therapeutic joint, tendon, bursal, or musclular injections in addition to medical treatments.
The rheumatologist helps a primary care physician to evaluate the patient’s problem, make a diagnosis, and plan a course of treatment. In many cases, your primary care physician may request a consultation with a rheumatologist to manage inflammatory diseases, though you would continue to follow with your primary care physician for your regular medical needs.