If you suspect that you or a loved one has arthritis and you are wondering which doctor can treat your pain and other symptoms, the answer is – an orthopedic specialist.
Orthopedic doctors and surgeons are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders, including arthritis. Some orthopedic doctors specialize in hip and knee joints, while others may focus on the conditions affecting the hands and feet.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is caused due to the age-related wear and tear of articular cartilage (cartilage that serves as a cushion between bones), while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. In both cases, cartilage loss or damage leads to bone-on-bone friction, causing pain and swelling at the joints.
When to see an Orthopedic Doctor for Arthritis
It’s best to see an orthopedic doctor for your arthritis, if you are experiencing the follow symptoms:
- Severe joint pain that limits movement
- Gradually worsening joint pain – especially in the knees or hips, which worsens on standing
- Joint pain after an accident or injury, such as a fall
- Joint pain that does not respond to conventional treatment
While there’s no cure for arthritis, you can effectively manage its symptoms using conservative methods. However, if your symptoms persist and do not respond to conservative treatments, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery to relieve your pain, fix the damaged joints, and help you regain your range of motion.
Surgical approaches to treat arthritis include –
- minimally invasive arthroscopy
- osteotomy (the cutting or removal of bone
- joint replacement (joint is replaced with artificial parts)
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, pain relief injections, and physical therapy are the treatment options. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend a joint replacement surgery if the condition has caused great damage to your joints.