Although orthopedists and rheumatologists both focus on a patient’s joints, muscles and bones, rheumatologists focus more on joint disorders that can be treated medically while orthopedists specialize in surgical treatments and managing fractures. Experiencing joint pain? You can use the guidelines below to help determine if you should choose an orthopedic physician or rheumatologist for your arthritis and joint pain!

How Can You Get Help With Your Joint Pain?

In diagnosing pain, the first step would be to do your research and visit your primary physician, as he or she can give a basic diagnosis and refer you to a specialist for a closer look. From there, the two most common physicians who treat joint pain are orthopedists and rheumatologists.

A rheumatologist is skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic disease. On the other hand, orthopedic physicians deal more with osteoarthritis and any trauma to the body.

When To See an Orthopedist

  • If you are experiencing joint or musculoskeletal pain after an injury
  • If you experience hip or knee pain that gets worse when bearing weight
  • If you suffer from severe joint pain that interferes with basic daily functions
  • If you suffer from moderate or advanced arthritis in the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows,  wrists, hands or feet
  • If you have had previous unsuccessful treatment of joint pain
  • If you need a joint replacement or steroid injection

When to See a Rheumatologist

  • If you experience pain involving many joints
  • If you notice new joint pain not associated with any injury
  • If your joint or musculoskeletal pain associated with morning stiffness, fever, fatigue, rash or chest pain
  • If you suffer from joint pain that followed a tick bite
  • If your joint pain is associated with back pain
  • If you have joint pain and psoriasis
  • If you have muscular pain with or without any other symptoms
  • If you get new headaches or muscle aches and are over the age of 50
  • If you experience back pain with or without pain in the legs
  • If you notice unexplained, ongoing symptoms such as fever, sweats or weight loss

MoonlightOrtho is dedicated to providing excellent care to our patients – even on evenings, weekends, and holidays. Whether you are looking for a referral/Doctors order for: Physical Therapy, imaging such as MRI or X-ray, lab testing and other diagnostic studies, or evaluation by another sub-specialist such as a Neurologist or Rheumatologist, our licensed Orthopedic Doctors are ready to help assist you with your common orthopedic problems today at