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Professionals

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You may see a range of health or social care professionals to help you manage your arthritis. 

Make sure you share information about your medication with them all.

This list only mentions a selection of the people who may be involved in your care. It does not cover GPs, nurses and the many other professionals who also play important roles in musculoskeletal services.

Chiropodist (also known as a podiatrist):

assesses, diagnoses and treats foot problems. They give professional advice on preventing foot problems and on caring for feet properly.

Chiropractor:

concerned with assessing, treating and preventing disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on other body systems. There is an emphasis on manual treatments, including spinal manipulation.

Occupational therapist:

assesses, rehabilitates and treats people using purposeful activity – such as getting dressed or cooking a meal – to prevent disability and promote a person’s health and independence.

Orthopaedic surgeon:

a specialist doctor trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions affecting bones, joints and soft tissues. They also treat injuries such as broken bones. They are mostly based in hospital trauma and orthopaedics units, and carry out major and minor operations.

Orthotist:

designs and fits orthoses (for example, splints, callipers or braces) which provide support to part of a patient’s body to compensate for paralysed muscles, provide relief from pain, or prevent physical problems from getting worse.

Osteopath:

focuses on treating and preventing musculoskeletal disorders. Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, osteopaths aim to help the body heal without using drugs or surgery. Treatment is based on mobilising and manipulative techniques, reinforced by guidance on diet and exercise.

Paediatrician:

a doctor who specialises in treating children. A paediatrician may be based in either a community or a hospital setting. Different paediatricians may take a special interest in different aspects of children's health, including musculoskeletal problems.

Phlebotomist:

a person trained in taking blood specimens from people.

Physiotherapist:

assesses and treats people with physical problems – caused by accident, ageing, disease or disability – using physical approaches to reduce symptoms.

Practitioner with a special interest:

a relatively new term being used in the NHS to describe the growing group of GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals who are improving their skills in particular areas – such as musculoskeletal conditions. This often allows them to give more specialised care in the community. Other titles such as ‘nurse practitioner’ or ‘extended scope physiotherapist’ are used to describe professionals who have significantly improved their skills and responsibilities.

Prosthetist:

provides care and advice on rehabilitation and fitting the best possible artificial replacement for people who have lost or who were born without a limb.

Radiographer (diagnostic):

a professional who produces high‑quality images on film (like X-rays) and other recording media to diagnose a person's condition.

Rheumatologist:

a specialist doctor trained in diagnosing and treating arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, some of which cause general illness as well as affecting bones and joints.

They are mostly based in hospital rheumatology units. They will establish your diagnosis and identify a suitable treatment plan for you. You will probably see the rheumatologist regularly to monitor your disease.

Social worker:

a professional trained to discuss emotional, mental or physical needs with people and their families, and to find them support and care services as appropriate.




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