What Does a Rheumatologist Do?


A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in inflammatory and autoimmune conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system and other parts of the body. These diseases affect your bones and joints. They affect your muscles, tendons and ligaments. They can make your joints swollen and painful. And they can cause serious problems in other parts of your body.

What do they treat?

Why would you need to see a rheumatologist? They help you manage things like arthritis and gout. They treat autoimmune diseases. They care for tendon injuries, and inherited conditions that affect your muscles. Some of these issues can be hard to diagnose. So it may take time to find out what's wrong.

Diagnosing you

Your rheumatolologist looks at a range of factors. They give you a physical exam. They study your health history. They may order different types of tests. For example, you may need to have X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI. You can have other tests, too. They use all of this info to develop a care plan that's right for you.

Working with you

A big part of a rheumatologist's job is sharing info with you. So they teach you about your condition. They make sure you know about all of your care options. They explain how these options can affect you. They help you during treatment, and give you the support you need as you recover. And they create a plan to help you live a healthy life.


Your rheumatologist is a key part of your care team. For more info about musculoskeletal system health, talk to your doctor.