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What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a branch of medicine concerned with disorders of the skeleton and the soft tissues which support it, such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, synovium (joint lining) and cartilage (gristle).

There is a wide range of rheumatological disorders, from simple soft tissue disorders such as tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon) through to complex diseases affecting more than one bodily system. These diseases may cause various symptoms which are not necessarily confined to the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, although arthritis may be the condition most closely associated with this specialty, joint inflammation is only one of many clinical features.

What is a rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is a medical specialist who is expert in the field of musculoskeletal disorders. His or her task is to diagnose such conditions and recommend appropriate treatment. The rheumatologist may need to review you regularly, either in person or via one of the rheumatology team, or your condition may be one your own doctor (GP) can manage in the community. Many conditions are managed jointly.