What is a Rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a doctor who has completed additional medical training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones.

A Rheumatologist can help explore nonsurgical treatment options for certain conditions.

There are more than 100 types of these rheumatological conditions that are diagnosed and treated by a rheumatologist, including:

Rheumatoid Arthritis          Osteoarthritis  Osteoporosis

Ankylosing Spondylitis  Tendonitis  Psoriatic Arthritis

Temporal Arteritis  Polymyositis  Sjogren's Syndrome

Back Pain Bursitis Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Lupus Gout  Dermatomyositis

Vasculitis                            Scleroderma                Granulomatosis with Polyangitis

After four years of medical school and three years of training in either internal medicine or pediatrics, rheumatologists devote an additional two to three years in specialized rheumatology fellowship training. Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified. Upon completion of their training, they must pass a rigorous exam conducted by the American Board of Internal Medicine to become certified.

Many types of bone, joint and autoimmune conditions are not easily diagnosed in the early stages. Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of swelling and pain. Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. These diseases often change or evolve over time. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to identify the problem and design an individualized treatment program.

The American College of Rheumatology is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.