Rheumatology is a sub-specialty of orthopaedics and is associated with diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Rheumatologists are the orthopaedic physicians who obtained fellowship or board certification in management of rheumatic conditions.
Rheumatologists diagnose and treat several diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Certain rheumatic conditions are difficult to diagnose in the early stages and also to treat. It is important that diagnosis and treatment begin early, as some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease else may cause severe complications in future.
Some rheumatic diseases are complex and often change or evolve over time. In such cases rheumatologists work closely with patients to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. They often serve as physicians, acting like consultant to advice for other doctors. Rheumatology has helped patients with rheumatological disorders lead a near normal life without any disabilities.