Arthritis professionals

Anyone who develops arthritis or is connected with someone with this condition will come into contact with a variety of professionals in this field.

If you are an arthritis sufferer then you will have a team of people responsible for your treatment and overall care. This team may include:

  • Your GP
  • Specialist rheumatologist
  • Rheumatology nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Orthotist
  • Orthopaedic surgeon

Your GP

This is the first person you will see. He or she will discuss your condition with you before referring you for tests. Any queries or issues with your arthritis are usually discussed with your GP than any other member of the team.

Specialist rheumatologist

This is specialist or consultant who has knowledge and experience in the area of musculoskeletal disease. This includes forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatology related disorders.

Your GP will refer you to a rheumatologist if your condition warrants further investigation, e.g. tests. He or she will review the results of these before devising a course of treatment.

The rheumatologist may refer you to other professionals such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist

Rheumatology nurse

This is a specialist nurse who has experience in caring for people with arthritis or rheumatology related conditions. He or she will work in conjunction with the rheumatologist and will discuss your condition with fellow colleagues.

The rheumatology nurse will ask you about your medical history before examining your affected joints. He or she will review the results of your tests and will suggest changes to your treatment.

These nurses can provide both physical and emotional support; advice about arthritis medication; help with compiling an arthritis plan to deal with any unexpected issues; plus arrange for your condition to be monitored at your local GP surgery.


This is a highly trained professional, expert in dealing with movement, pain management and everyday living. He or she will devise a series of exercises which will help to ease the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis.

If you require mobility aids, e.g. crutches, then he/she will show you how to use these.

Occupational therapist

This is another highly qualified professional who deals with everyday problems caused by arthritis. This includes finding ways for you to move around at home, performing household tasks such as cooking or cleaning and methods for coping at work.

An occupational therapist is usually based within a hospital although they can also be found in your local Primary Care Trust (PCT) or via social services.


This is the name given to someone who is trained in foot care and all issues related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of foot related conditions. This includes conditions such as arthritis.

Podiatrists work in either the NHS or private hospitals and can advise people about a range of problems. These include obtaining special insoles or orthotics to help with walking.


An orthotist is someone who prescribed devices to help support joints weakened by arthritis. These devices also help to ease the pain and stiffness of arthritis as well as correcting any deformities.

There are a range of devices available which include splints for either the arms or legs and orthotics (insoles). These devices are available off the shelf or custom made.

Orthopaedic surgeon

This is a surgeon who specialises in injuries or illnesses to the bones and joints. This includes damage caused by arthritis.

Orthopaedic surgeons perform the following procedures:

  • Joint replacement
  • Joint fusion
  • Tendon repairs
  • Keyhole surgery
  • Fracture repair

Remember: most people with arthritis do not require surgery so it is unlikely that you will see an orthopaedic surgeon. Plus even if you do then it may be for a non-surgical reason.

Surgery is only recommended in severe cases.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved