Orthopedist

The Overlap Between an Orthopedic Specialist and a Rheumatologist

If you are one of the 100 million Americans in the United States suffering from joint pain, and the unpleasant effects associated with it, you know how difficult carrying out or completing everyday tasks can be. Getting healthcare is a privilege and a right, however, not everyone is fortunate enough to receive good healthcare. Good healthcare depends largely on the specialist you see, and for joint pain it can get tricky. Doing research, and talking to others can help you choose the right doctor.

In getting an accurate diagnosis, a visit to your primary care doctor is usually the first step. They can give you a basic diagnosis, and refer you to a specialist such as an orthopedist or rheumatologist for a closer look and second opinion. Both a rheumatologist and orthopedist treat joint pain as part of their specialty, whether the pain is chronic or acute.

The main difference and overlap between an orthopedist and a rheumatologist is that an orthopedist is a surgical specialist and a rheumatologist is a medical specialist. Usually, first, a rheumatologist will give you a diagnosis, and monitor your condition/progression following the use of medications and other non-surgical treatments. If symptoms continue to persist, the rheumatologist will often refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to see if you are a candidate for surgery, usually as a last resort, if no other treatments could alleviate the problem. 

Visit an orthopedist if you have experienced:

  • Joint or musculoskeletal pain following an injury
  • Hip or knee pain that gradually increases when bearing weight
  • Severe joint pain interfering with typical functioning
  • Moderate or advanced arthritis in the hips or knees
  • Previous unsuccessful treatment of joint pain
  • Need surgery – Joint Replacement

See a rheumatologist if you have experienced:

  • Pain involving multiple joints
  • New joint pain not associated with an injury
  • Joint or musculoskeletal pain associated with fever, fatigue, rash, morning stiffness or chest pain
  • Joint pain coinciding with back pain
  • Joint pain with psoriasis
  • Muscular pain with or without any other symptoms
  • Recurring headaches or muscle aches
  • Back pain with or without leg pain
  • Ongoing symptoms, such as unexplained fever, sweating or weight loss

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, we understand how chronic pain, or pain in general can disrupt your life. At our practice, you will find a multi-disciplinary team of specialists that will diagnose and treat your joint pain. Whether your pain is caused by disease or an injury, our orthopaedic surgeons, podiatric surgeon, and physical therapists will provide the relief you need to get you back to doing the things you love. If further care is needed, we will refer you to the right specialist, to receive the best care possible.

To request an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050. You can also request an appointment online today.